How to Find a Good Lawyer
dos & don’ts when choosing a lawyer
Having to hire a lawyer is a scary experience for many people, especially if they have no previous experience with such things. However, your lawyer should be your ally, someone who you can rely on in these difficult times, not someone to fear. But, how to find a good lawyer? Here are a few dos and don’ts that will make your selection process smooth and pleasant.
DO study your situation
Ask yourself a few questions such as why do you need a lawyer and can you solve your issues on your own. If you definitely need legal help, see whether you need a lawyer to handle a one-time case or something more long-term. If you need help with handling a current legal situation, a consultation or a short-term hire should be a great fit for you. On the other hand, something like handling your family or company legal affairs might require a long-term position and a lawyer you can call whenever you need their help.
DO consult Martindale-Hubbell directory
If you need an extensive source of information about lawyers and firms, consult the Martindale-Hubbell directory. This guide can be found online or at your local library and is often used by civilians and lawyers to find legal talent. You will get to have an overview of all lawyers in the USA and Canada, as well as professional biographies of the best lawyers and firms in over 160 countries.
DO consider your location
Here’s the thing, the law varies by country and state, which means you need to find someone in your area who knows local laws and legal requirements. If you live in rural Arkansas, you can probably use the phone or email to discuss smaller issues with the closest attorney. But if you live in Sydney, you can easily find the best lawyers in Sydney and have a more serious and personal face-to-face conversation. Many firms today can draw wills or power of attorney documents digitally, but you still need to find an attorney that’s familiar with local laws and close to you.
DO conduct interviews
To assess your lawyer and their legal abilities, you need to conduct an interview. Most professionals provide initial consultations free of charge, so use that offer to ask a few questions. What is their experience in issues you’re facing? How many years of practice do they have? How is their track record? How much time can they dedicate to your case? Do they have special skills? What about additional certification?
DON’T disregard experience
While young lawyers have passion and aspiration, it’s also important to consider the experience in the area of law you require. If they have a website, check their practising history; if not, ask about their previous cases. More experience is always a good thing, but only if that experience matches the situation you’re in and your budget.
DON’T disregard costs
Speaking about budget, make sure to consider costs when hiring legal help. It’s completely up to you how much you’re willing to spend. Make sure to ask your lawyer for a quote and the way they choose to bill for their services—hourly fee, flat fee, contingency fee, negotiable deals, or even a retainer for future fees. Also, check whether their fee includes shipping, filing and travel costs. In many cases, these are billed separately so be careful.
DON’T disregard your guts
While you should focus mostly on your lawyer’s professionalism, their character should also be considered. Ideally, your lawyer should be trustworthy, pleasant and respectful. When you’re comfortable with your lawyer, you can be honest which helps the case. If your gut is telling you to keep looking because you don’t trust the individual, do so – there are many lawyers out there.
Having an attorney who’s experienced, educated and ambitious, as well as thoughtful, thorough and sensible can be a great asset to your life. When choosing legal help, use these tips and you will find a great lawyer to have in your corner.