Finding the perfect lawyer for your case can be tricky, but you’ll be handing over a lot of responsibility and a great deal of money, so picking the right attorney is important.
Here are 8 pointers to help you get started.
1. Look for Referrals
One good way to get started when you are looking for an attorney is to ask for referrals. Ask family members or friends to recommend an attorney they have worked with in the past.
If you personally know an attorney, but they are unable to take on your case because they are too busy or specialize in something unrelated to your problem, ask them to suggest an attorney they know who would be suited to your case.
If you don’t know anyone personally who can recommend a good attorney, call your local bar association. They can give you listings of lawyers in your city with the right area of expertise.
2. Seek Out a Specialist
Make sure to seek out the right kind of attorney. Many attorneys work as general practitioners while others specialize in a specific type of law.
You are usually better off calling a specialist. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in El Paso or Edmonton, personal injury lawyers will be more helpful than an attorney who mostly works on divorce cases and dabbles in personal injury law on the side.
3. Evaluate their Website
Once you’ve asked for referrals and found a specialist, check out the attorney’s website. Hopefully they at least have a website.
Make sure the site looks professional and that the information on it is correct. You don’t want to hand over your legal troubles to someone who can’t figure out how to use modern technology or who is too lazy to check to see if their phone number is listed correctly.
4. Get a Free Consultation
Once you’ve determined that the attorney has an adequate website, look for information on the site about free consultations.
Often a website will include a contact form you can fill out or a phone number to call about meeting with the attorney for free to discuss your case. Schedule a free consultation so you can meet the attorney in person and make sure it is a good fit.
5. Ask Lots of Questions
Ask the attorney lots of questions during your consultation. Make sure they clearly understand what you are looking for and make sure you know they are the right person for the job. How many cases have they handled that are similar to yours? What were the outcomes?
You want an attorney with plenty of successful experience handling cases like yours.
Does the attorney charge for answering quick phone calls and emails?
It is important to know ahead of time what you will be paying for.
6. Find out Who Will Be Working on Your Case
Many attorneys delegate work to paralegals and junior associates. Sometimes the attorney you initially met with won’t be the one who shows up at your hearing, and sometimes all your emails will be answered by staff.
Decide if you are okay with this and insist that your attorney is honest about who will be doing most of the work. If you know that a paralegal or associate attorney will be doing a lot of the leg work on your case make sure to introduce yourself to them and get their contact information.
7. Insist on Clear, Consistent Communication
Attorneys are notoriously busy people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have time to communicate with you.
Communication is a two person job, so do your part by being efficient—pay attention so you don’t have to ask the same question twice, consolidate multiple questions into one email, and read all the paperwork to prevent confusion. If you have done your part and your attorney still doesn’t respond to phone calls or emails promptly, it may be time to look for someone else.
8. Pay attention to Personality
No matter how talented your attorney is, you will run into problems if your personalities clash. You don’t have to go out for beers together on the weekend, but you should understand each other and be comfortable with the attorney’s approach to your case. If you are super organized, a more laid back attorney will frustrate you.
If you are anxious, a laid back attorney may be comforting. You will both be better off if you hire someone with a compatible personality.
Choosing an attorney can be confusing and intimidating, but if you use these 8 pointers, things will be a little easier and you will avoid potential problems.
Connor Adkins is interested in many subjects including law. To learn more about hiring a good attorney check out Braithwaite and Boyle.