Hiring a lawyer is not as simple as it seems. While there are many attorneys out there, not all of them are right for every case. You need to look into a few things before deciding whether or not a lawyer is the best for your case.
Most attorneys will not charge you for your initial visit. Use this meeting to assess the lawyer’s honesty. Sometimes, just a few minutes of interacting with them is enough to receive signals. Try asking how they think your case will play out. If they sound too optimistic, downplaying the risks and costs involved, honesty may not be in their book.
Your initial meeting with an attorney can also tell you how detail-oriented and responsive they will be when they begin working on your case. Find out how they will keep you in the loop regarding the status of your case and who will be dealing with you directly (this might be a paralegal if you’re working with a large law firm). And be sure to ask if you may call them anytime you have concerns or questions to be addressed. If they seem uncomfortable with the idea, take it as a red flag. Let your gut be your guide.
The right lawyer is not just the best lawyer for you, but also the one you can actually pay. Ask for a written cost estimate, and, if possible, a contract indicating the highest amount you may have to pay. You don’t want any unwelcome surprises along the way.
Aside from trustworthiness, your lawyer should also have extensive experience in the branch of law that concerns your case. If you’re filing a personal injury claim, for example, you probably shouldn’t hire a lawyer who specializes in DUIs. You may do with a generalist for a non-complex case; otherwise, they may cause more trouble with their lack of expertise.
Finding a Lawyer
Aside from your phone book and referrals from family and friends, the American Bar Association and unions are also great resources to consider. Moreover, if you’re in the military, check whether your umbrella and home insurance policy entitle you to some representation.
In the end, you need to make sure that you have the best lawyer you can afford, right by your side. And you cannot determine who’s best unless you’ve made some logical comparisons. In other words, don’t just consider one attorney. Create a shortlist of at least three and know more about each of them and their differences. That’s how you make a well-informed decision when hiring a lawyer.