Hiring a lawyer is not as simple as it seems. While we hardly have a shortage of attorneys, they are not all created equal. There are things you have to consider before deciding whether or not a certain lawyer is right for your legal problem.
Most attorneys will not charge you for your initial visit. Use this meeting to assess the lawyer’s honesty. Sometimes, all you need is to talk to them and you will instantly pick up vibes. Ask them what they think of your case and its potential outcome. If they seem overly optimistic, mention no risks, or make the costs sound trivial, they’re probably being dishonest.
Your initial meeting with an attorney can also tell you how detail-oriented and responsive they will be when they begin working on your case. Find out how you will be updated on the status of your case, as well as who will be handling your case directly (a paralegal most likely if you go with a big law firm). And be sure to ask if you may call them anytime you have concerns or questions to be addressed. If they seem uncomfortable with the idea, take it as a red flag. Listen to your instincts.
Part of what makes a lawyer right for you is whether you can afford to pay their fee or not. Ask for a written cost estimate, and, if possible, a contract indicating the highest amount you may have to pay. This will help you avoid unwanted surprises down the road.
Aside from trustworthiness, your lawyer should also have extensive experience in the branch of law that concerns your case. For example, don’t hire a family law specialist if you’re fighting for a civil right. You may do with a generalist for a non-complex case; otherwise, they may cause more trouble with their lack of expertise.
Where to Search for a Lawyer
Aside from the phone book or personal recommendations, there are many other sources of attorney referrals, such as the American Bar Association and unions. Furthermore, if you are in the military, your umbrella and home insurance policies may actually cover you for some kind of legal representation.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you’re hiring the best lawyer you can afford. And to see who’s best, you have to make comparisons among options. In short, don’t be happy considering just one lawyer. Have a shortlist of at least three prospects and research details about each one, especially their differences. That’s how you make a well-informed decision when hiring a lawyer.