Of course, you want to work with the best and most experienced lawyer possible, whether you are sorting out a real estate issue, filing for divorce or putting together your will. Lawyers tend to specialize in different areas of the law, and the following tips can make the job of finding the right one that much easier.
Where To Find a Lawyer
A friend or someone in your family may be able to recommend a lawyer they had a positive experience with; you can also browse online or look in the phone directory. Your home insurance policy may provide free or discounted legal representation, and you may also have access to legal help if you’re in the military or the AARP. Finding a lawyer in your state is also something the American Bar Association can help with, and representation is sometimes provided by some unions.
Work With An Honest Lawyer
Many of us are able to form an immediate impression of someone we meet and decide quickly if that person is trustworthy and honest. Take advantage of the free initial consultation that almost every lawyer offers; it’s a good chance to get a feel for the person you might be working with, and of course, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer and are able to trust them — a lawyer who looks at the ground when speaking rather than directly at you maybe someone to avoid.
The initial consultation is also a good chance to ask any questions that you have and find out more about the lawyer and how they operate. Ask them about award amounts they have won in the past for any cases that are similar to yours, and the type of cases they have previously been involved in.
You may want to think twice about working with a lawyer if they don’t pay much attention or importance to the costs that you may incur, and a good lawyer will point out any downfalls or risks that taking on your case may have.
Work With a Thorough Lawyer
We all want to work with someone who understands our needs and responds to our requests in a timely manner, as well as someone who pays attention to the details and is thorough. Once your case is in progress, you’ll probably want to know what is going on every so often, and a good question for your lawyer is whether they mind you calling for an update every now and then. You may be dealing with someone who is reluctant to communicate, or is simply not well organized if they don’t like that idea.
Another Possible Question To Ask
Will you be communicating with a paralegal who is handling the case, or can you assume that your main contact and source of information is your attorney?
Work With a Lawyer You Can Afford
During your initial consultation, make sure you discuss the lawyer’s fees and understand what they are and how and when they are assessed. It’s obviously important only to choose a lawyer whose services you can actually afford.
Your lawyer should be able to provide you with a written estimate of the anticipated litigation costs, and any contract should also clearly indicate what the maximum possible costs to you might be.
Before signing any agreement, you might be able to negotiate lower fees if your lawyer is taking your case on a percentage basis. But be careful of a lawyer who negotiates too much, as it can shed doubt on the confidence they have in themselves.
Work With An Experienced Lawyer
A lawyer with the relevant experience is just as important as one who is honest, trustworthy and organized; ideally, you want to work with someone who has all these traits.
Most lawyers specialize, and you don’t want to fall into the trap of working with a lawyer who doesn’t have specific experience in your area. If you are getting divorced, a divorce attorney is your best option, and a lawyer with expertise in estate planning should be consulted to draft your will. A general practitioner typically doesn’t have expertise in a specific area of the law, and this can potentially hurt your case.
Size Of the Firm
More personalized service can often be expected from a smaller law firm, and the lawyer may be able to devote more time to your case as they aren’t juggling several cases at once. Lawyers at a larger firm are often working several cases at once; unfortunately, it can mean your case isn’t getting the attention you feel it deserves.
An opposing attorney may respect a larger firm that has many cases wins to their name, and has the experience and insight to get the judgment you are looking for. So it may pay you to use a larger firm simply because of their reputation, although they also have more resources, staff and funds to look into your case thoroughly.