Originally posted on: https://commonlegalquestions.com/how-to-choose-the-right-attorney/
When you Google “attorneys near me,” chances are you will be bombarded with millions of search results. It can be quite difficult to sift through the countless law firms and figure out which is best suited to handle your legal needs. Selecting the right attorney is a very time and effort-consuming process that can be overwhelming for many. To make things easier, below are 7 important things one should consider when choosing an attorney.
Understand your legal problem and what type of attorney you’ll need
The first and arguably most important step in the process of choosing an attorney is to understand the legal issue you are facing. There are many different types of law, so it is crucial that you find an attorney that specializes in the legal issue you are having. Some attorneys may deal with employment law, while others handle criminal cases. Even though there are general practice attorneys, it can be beneficial to hire a lawyer that specializes in your legal area of concern, especially if it’s a serious legal matter that could significantly impact your livelihood. For example, if you are going through a nasty divorce and need to discuss splitting assets and child custody, a divorce attorney that specializes in assets and custody would be a better option than a general practitioner.
Ensure that your attorney has the proper experience
When choosing a lawyer, it is important to make sure that your attorney has the proper experience to assist you with your legal matters. Look into the track record of the attorney to determine their success when it comes to handling similar matters. A solid record of experience increases the likelihood that this attorney can successfully assist you with your legal problem. Some things you can look at to determine whether or not your attorney has the right experience include how long they have been practicing law, the number of cases they’ve handled that relate to your specific problem, and obviously the results of these cases.
The more experience an attorney has, the more aware they are of potential challenges that can arise and how to best tackle them to help ensure you get the desired outcome. A lawyer with experience has enough wisdom to evaluate risks and rewards and has already developed winning strategies that will help get you through the legal process.
Check your attorney’s reputation
Another way to determine if your attorney is the right fit for you is to find out more about their reputation. An attorney is not cheap, so you don’t want to find yourself hiring a lawyer that has a bad reputation as it’s less likely they will be able to successfully help you. You can use Google to find reviews or other websites that provide information about your attorney. First, you should look at your state’s Bar Association and make sure your attorney is bar certified. A great website for this is run by the American Bar Association, findlegalhelp.org. Another great website for finding out more about your attorney is martindale.com, a company that has been a prime resource for both clients and attorneys alike.
Make sure your attorney is familiar with your location
Since laws vary state to state, it’s important to make sure your attorney is familiar with your region’s legal requirements. Depending on your legal issue, you may end up using either a local or a national specialist. For example, worker’s compensation or real estate issues are usually handled locally, while federal law issues like wage and hour or labor laws are best handled by national specialists. With advanced technology and transportation, we are able to use a specialist almost anywhere in the country. If you live in a rural area that has limited resources, you can use the available technological resources to discuss your legal matters. When it comes to larger legal matters or long term counsel, it may be better to find an attorney close to you so that you can develop a trustworthy face-to-face relationship.
Ensure that your attorney is compatible with your needs
All attorneys practice many different styles of law and have various personalities and approaches to representing their clients. Of course, your attorney should be professional, your lawyer’s character should also factor into your ultimate decision. It is important that your attorney is someone that makes you feel comfortable and that you feel as though you can trust them. You want an attorney who will exercise good judgment, work hard on your behalf, and be both thorough and thoughtful when handling your legal matters.
Check cost and billing
Cost will always be a factor when it comes to hiring an attorney. Your budget is ultimately up to you, but should not impact the overall quality of your attorney. You can also your potential attorney for a quote as well as how they bill their clients. There are multiple different ways to be billed, including a flat rate, hourly fee, contingency fee, negotiable fee, or even a retainer for future fees. It is also important to find out if the fee include expenses like shipping, travel, and filing. If you are not happy with the quote given to you, shop around for other attorneys and ask them the same questions. With the competition between attorneys as fierce as ever, it is possible that your desired attorney will compromise financially with you in order to secure your business. When you eventually do settle on a lawyer, make sure the terms and costs are clear. It is best to confirm all costs through a written agreement to ensure no unwanted financial surprises.
Find out the size of the firm and what type of support networks and resources they have
The size of the law firm you choose will largely depend on the nature of your legal issue. A larger firm may have better resources to handle a more complex case, but they might also have a large caseload to take on. While a smaller firm may not have the same depth or breadth of experience as a large firm, they are most likely able to give you more personalized one-on-one time as they will probably have a smaller caseload.
In addition a larger firm may have more money to spend on the digital marketing campaign, so their websites may be more informative and contain more resources like blogs, newsletters, and educational publications to help you with handling your legal problem. A smaller firm may not have as much of a budget designated towards their digital marketing strategies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the proper experience- they may just not have the same valuable resources and support networks that larger firms tend to have.