Finding the Right Attorney
In a modern society, a lawyer is a necessity. Some people may need them more than others; but even for the average individual, a lawyer will be necessary for wills and other basic legal documents. However, finding the right lawyer can be a daunting task for those not familiar with the profession. In that case, it is always a good idea to ask a few basic questions.
Why do you need an attorney?
Different attorneys generally have different experience in different areas. Ask what area of the law the attorney focuses on. For example, an attorney with extensive experience in criminal defense may not have significant experience in estate planning, just as an attorney who primarily pursues personal injury cases may not be the best choice for criminal defense.
How long has the attorney practiced?
This matters because of experience. The longer an attorney has practiced, the more of the ins-and-outs of law they will know and be familiar with. An attorney fresh out of law school may have a fine mind, but may not be as familiar with the more practical side of law, as opposed to the more formal side, as a campaigner who has been in the courtroom for 20 years.
Does the attorney work for a firm?
Depending on the type of case for which you need an attorney, this can be a vital question. An attorney working individually out of a small office typically will not have the resources necessary to handle a larger case. For example, if you plan on bringing a suit against a larger corporation, it helps to have a larger firm on your side with the resources to prosecute your claim. A larger firm will have several attorneys and assistants.
Is the attorney certified to practice in your state?
To practice in specific states, attorneys must pass the bar exam in the state, or have permission to practice. Before making the decision to hire an attorney, make sure they are qualified.
Will you be working with this specific attorney the whole time?
Many times, attorneys from larger firms will have other attorneys do much of the work for them. This can be a good or bad thing, depending upon your perspective. Find out exactly who will be handling your case and whether they have the experience and knowledge you need and that you’re content with.
What is the attorney’s track record?
It’s no secret that some attorneys are better than others. Research and find out the outcomes of the attorney’s previous cases. If the outcomes are primarily negative, if may be a good idea to look elsewhere.
What do the reviews say?
In the age of the internet, reviews are everywhere. Look online and see what the attorney’s previous clients have said and how they have rated him. If he has received poor reviews, if he is often late and if he has a terrible rapport with clients, take that into consideration before making the decision to hire.
How does the attorney charge?
Does the attorney offer a free consultation? Do they demand money up front? What percentage will they take if you win a personal injury case? Ask up front to find out the fee structure. Different types of attorneys charge differently – make sure the fee structure is appropriate for you.
Do you like them?
This may seem to be an irrelevant question, but keep in mind that this attorney is someone you will have to work with. Does this attorney seem as if they understand your specific circumstances? Can you work with them in close quarters for a length of time? Do you feel like they have your best interests at heart? Don’t be naïve, but trust can be a big issue.
Each case is different and unique, and each individual’s needs are, as well. Use common sense and ask advice from others who have hired attorneys. Keep these questions in mind and you are likely to find the attorney who is right for you.