Choosing a Lawyer

7 Things to Consider When Deciding on a Lawyer

Life is quite unpredictable. One moment you see everything working smoothly, whereas the next minute, some legal issues are knocking on the door. It could be due to law violations, not filing tax returns, or someone has filed a lawsuit against your company. In every case, you would need help from a lawyer to pull you out of hot water. With approximately 1.1 million practicing lawyers in the United States, you can readily find one, but a little homework is required to ensure you make the right decision.

People spend a lot of time when it comes to recruiting an accountant or a contractor. Similarly, when you go to a restaurant or select a doctor, you ask friends for recommendations and lookup reviews. Unsurprisingly, you have to follow the same approach when it comes to choosing a lawyer. Alongside sharing confidential information with this person, you would be trusting them with legal advice. All their suggestions would have a significant impact, making it essential to hire the right person.

A client-attorney relationship should not only be symbiotic; you need someone who would go to bat for you. However, there are several aspects to turn over in your mind before selecting a lawyer that is best for your legal situation. Here are some points to consider when choosing a lawyer.

1. IDENTIFY YOUR LEGAL PROBLEM

First of all, determine the legal trouble you are facing as the law has different specialties and sub-categories. Before selecting the best attorney to represent you, decide what kind of a lawyer is suitable for addressing your case. If you encountered an accident in Florida, you should look for car accident lawyers in Miami to provide legal assistance. Believe it or not, lawyers are as specialized as doctors, meaning you shouldn’t ask a criminal lawyer to help you with a lawsuit. Only a specialist will know the latest developments and legal implications applicable to your problem. This up-to-date knowledge can make a winning or losing difference in your case.

2. GET REFERENCES

In today’s era, other’s word of mouth holds a lot of importance. Therefore, when choosing a lawyer, you should know what others have to say about the particular attorney. Ask them to provide a few clients for you to consult. However, references coming from the lawyers may be subject to bias since they would hand down their best clients. Thus, dig deeper into the attorney’s reputation and check with other sources. Look at online sources to know all the background information of the registered attorneys. After all, hiring an attorney is a significant decision, meaning you should not take any shortcuts in the recruitment process.

3. ASSESS ATTORNEY’S EXPERIENCE

In addition to picking a specialized lawyer, you need someone with experience in cases similar to your own. You can book an appointment to have a discussion and see whether they are qualified to take your case. Feel free to ask about their practicing history, situations they have handled, and other clients. Otherwise, you can check out the firm’s website to learn more about the lawyers. An attorney with experience is always more valuable than a fresh graduate from law school. However, you have to make sure their experience matches your situation as well as your budget.

4. PROFESSIONALISM & CREDIBILITY

At times, successful lawyers develop an attitude – they prefer working with more prominent clients, instead of making themselves available to everyone. Undoubtfully, “professionalism” holds a lot of importance in this field. You have to ensure the attorney treats you as an equally influential client, closing doors for biases. Distinguishing competent attorneys from unprofessional ones involves identifying certain behaviors and actions. Here is what you can expect from a credible and professional lawyer:
a. They work passionately for the client’s best interests.
b. A good lawyer uses tech-savvy resources and tools.
c. A smart lawyer promptly communicates with the client to give all updates.
d. They familiarize you with dispute resolution procedures.
e. A good lawyer shows respect, irrespective of roles, or status.
f. They never indulge in socially irresponsible behavior.

Lawyers have to protect your interests under any circumstances. Professional ones take ownership of your problem and investing their time to find winning solutions.

5. REVIEW COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Unfortunately, legal terminologies and regulations are not everyone’s cup of tea. Even if you go through legal documents, it is quite challenging to understand things. Thus, you need a lawyer who can communicate and explain to you every nitty-gritty detail. They will take you through complicated matters, gives suggestions in plain English to promote understandability, and present an array of solutions. Sometimes, between paperwork and meetings – you might go out of touch. Therefore, establish a proactive communication and discuss lawyer’s availability and office hours. It would ensure you both are on the same page, preventing misunderstandings.

6. CHECK COMPATIBILITY

Although there are many professional things to consider when choosing a lawyer, you should also consider their character. Find someone down to earth and trustworthy, who makes you feel comfortable rather than passing judgments. You would be spending hours together in preparations and during court trials. It becomes impossible to spend this much time with someone you dislike. A lawyer who caters to your need, exercises fair decisions, and is thoughtful about legal proceedings, is like a valuable asset. After all, mutual respect is the key.

7. CHARGES & BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS

Are you on a tight budget? Ultimately, the cost would be a significant factor when choosing a lawyer. Gather information before asking lawyers for a quote to get an idea of how much they generally charge clients. The rates vary – some lawyers charge an hourly fee, while others also have contingency charges. Find out if fees include all the expenses – shipping, filing, travel because these costs are different and require separate billing. Always settle on a lawyer that offers transparent and clear cost terms without any hidden or additional charges. Above all, don’t feel shy to talk about prices, confirm them over a written agreement, and close doors for unwanted surprises.

TO CONCLUDE

Searching an attorney takes time because you might not find the right one by making a few clicks. You don’t need to rush over things, or else, you can end up hiring the wrong person. Spend some time researching because getting a lawyer that fits your needs and budget would keep you at peace. With these things in mind, you will soon iron out all legal issues.

About Dillon Holdsworth

Dillon is a graduate of New York University and is currently attending law school at the University of Virginia. He is devoted to his study of the law and is passionate about using his knowledge to inform victims of their legal options.

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