Legal problems can be overwhelming and confusing. Lawyers attend law school to learn to negotiate and understand the laws, rules and regulations that make up our complex legal system. Although some very small matters might be possible for a person not trained in the law to handle himself or herself, most legal matters require the help of an expert.
After determining that you need an attorney, you will need to pick the right type of practitoner for your particular type of issue. As is the case with medical doctors, there are many specialties within the law. Do you need a divorce lawyer, an estate planner, a personal injury attorney or a tax attorney? There are numerous specialties within the law and it imperative to hire a lawyer who practices specfically in your state and in your type of case. It might seem prudent and even look like it is great deal to hire your brother who happens to be a lawyer, to help with your divorce case, but it could be disaster if his practice area is in environmental law or any other law for that matter, outside of family law. There are many pitfalls in each area of the law and the law is an ever changing animal. You want to hire an attorney who has experience in your specific legal issues.
Another factor in assisting you in finding the right attorney for the job and a factor that is often overlooked, is finding an attorney that you "click with." Sure, you can hire the most expensive and experienced attorney in town, but if they aren't listening to what you want out of the case or they insist on acting as an overly aggressive, "hired gun", and all that you wanted was to settle your case for the least amount of lawyer's fees, you might be sorely disappointed. You could find yourself looking at a huge bill that you didn't anticipate or wondering why the outcome of the case was nothing that you wanted or expected. Personality and communication skills help tremendously in determining how you are going to feel at the end of your case. It is imperative that you interview more than one attorney if you have the time to do so. Take time to "read" the attorney. Is she or he listening? Do they seem to understand your most important concerns? Will they communicate well with you? Do you feel comfortable speaking with this person and asking for what you need? If you feel intimidated or unheard, run to another attorney. Neither party will be happy. Understand what your case requires to get resolved and what you want to see happen before you go in to interview a potential attorney. Do you feel you will need an aggressive litigator type attorney or do you need more of a negotiator?
As a last thought, understand that often times the law is very gray, there are many times no black or white answers. You might hire the very best attorney for your case, but come out on the losing end of the legal issues. As long as your attorney has heard your concerns, has kept you in the communication loop and worked his or her very best to reach your desired outcome, then you have hired the right attorney. At the end of the day, it might not be enough to finish where you had hoped. This is not a failing of your attorney, but rather the fact that the law is not always clear and the people judging our issues are always hearing two different sides of one story. When dealing with two different sides of the story, judges and juries who come in to the courtroom with their own perceptions and values, and a law that is gray and ever changing, results cannot be guaranteed. What should be guaranteed however, is that your legal advocate is doing everything possible to represent your best interests and to listen to your concerns.