There over one million lawyers in the US alone. That notwithstanding, finding the right lawyer is not straightforward affair.
Lawyers can be found in plenty in every city but good representation may at times be hard to come by. Not every law firm will be able to adequately handle your case or have your best interest at heart.
As such, before hiring an attorney, you must ensure that they are the right fit for you. This article will provide details on how to choose a lawyer who will best suit your needs.
Identify the Type of Lawyer You Need
As you begin the search for an attorney, it is important to recognize that there are several branches of law.
Most lawyers specialize in one or two closely related branches. However, they are not barred from representing clients with cases unrelated to their area of expertise.
Additionally, ensure that your attorney practices in your jurisdiction. This will ensure that they are familiar with the laws of the area and courts you will be tried in.
Taking such precaution from the onset is highly recommended. Any minor detail missed by your legal counsel may be disastrous for you.
If you choose to work with a reputable law firm like McCarthy Law PLC, you will get specialized attorneys with an eye for detail.
Look for Referrals
Many people hire lawyers that have been recommended to them by colleagues or friends. As you start your search, it is important to ask for the help of those closest to you.
Through such referrals, you will be able to know a lot more about an attorney even before meeting them. You will get insight into their work ethic, how they treat clients, their professionalism as well as their personality.
The good thing about talking to the people around you is the fact that they can also tap into their networks to get the best recommendations.
If you are referred by someone who has worked severally with that attorney, you can be certain of the service to expect.
Search the Internet for Good Lawyers
In this day and age, every great lawyer has an online presence. Law firms have websites, blogs, and social media pages. To begin with, do an online search for lawyers in your area.
Make sure your search is specific to your needs. This will ensure all the results displayed will be for suitable candidates.
Go through each of their websites to try and get a feeling of how long the firm has been in existence and how they operate.
Once you have selected a few candidates, take it up a notch higher. Look for online reviews. Start by go through the comments on their website and social media channels.
There are several independent websites that give reviews about businesses. Also, go through such sites and see the experiences other clients have had.
There is no better way to know the service you are likely to get than from previous clients.
Check with Your Local Bar Association for Qualified Attorneys
A state’s bar association is mandated to list all the qualified lawyers in the region as well as their individual credentials along with their area of expertise and experience.
In addition, they also record any complaints and disciplinary actions taken against the lawyers licensed to practice in the state.
Local bar associations can also help you identify the lawyers who suit your needs through a free referral service. All you need to do is select your state from the State & Local Bar Associations page on the American Bar Association website.
It is important that the lawyer you choose is in good standing with the bar and has a clean record as well.
Set up Initial Consultations
By this point, you probably have only a handful of candidates remaining. Even if there is one you think may be better for you, set up consultations with them all.
There are some attorneys that charge for consultations but most do it free of charge.
In order to accurately assess your case, the lawyer will need as much information as possible. Make sure that you keep any relevant documents safe and accessible for when you visit their office.
In addition write down any information that will be necessary. This also includes everything you would like to find out about the attorney. It is important that you inquire about:
•The amount of experience they have
•How many similar cases they have worked on and the success rate
•The amount of time the case can take
•Will they be working with you directly or assign your case to paralegals or junior associates
From these conversations, you will identify lawyers whose passion or personality you like. If you are met with cockiness or disinterest, strike them off the list.
How to Choose a Lawyer: Check the Outlook of the Firm
Every lawyer will do their best to assure you that they are the best fit for you. You will be surprised at how persuasive they can be. However reassuring their words may be, do not make your decision based on mere talk.
Ask for a tour of the firm. Check to see how neat and orderly the place is. How are other attorneys and support staff like? Are they professional and friendly? These things can give a clue about how serious a law firm is with work.
The size of the firm is also important to note. Large firms will have more resources to dedicate to your case for research or even recreating scenes.
However, your attorney may not be able to give you full attention. Some aspects of the case may at times be left to paralegals or other junior partners.
On the other hand, small firms may not have a lot of resources to dedicate to your case but you will receive specialized attention.
Both large and small firms have their own pros and cons. Identify the needs your case will have and go for the type of firm that can best serve those needs.
Make Sure You Can Afford the Service
The cost of law services varies based on a lot of factors. One of them being the firm or attorney you use and their method of billing you.
From the initial meeting, you should find out about costs and the mode used to charge you. Some will charge you per hearing, hour or for the case.
The billing method is crucial as it may affect your lawyer’s motivation to close the case. Ask for a written estimate of what the entire cost of litigation will be.
To prevent the costs from rising to astronomical levels, ask for the contract to secure the maximum costs for trying your case.
Qualities to Look for in a Lawyer
Some cases can be long and strenuous. Therefore, it is important to make sure you can truly count on your attorney to deliver.
Talking to a lawyer is a great way to know what they’re all about. However, it may be wise not to quickly trust the words of someone who earns a living for persuading people.
The following are some things to look out for.
For you to get the best possible outcome from your case, your lawyer must be honest with you. This is especially important for when the truth may not match your desires.
Though you may not be able to subject them to a polygraph test, there are subtle cues that can show you how truthful they are.
Of course, there are risks and challenges involved with any case. If your lawyer is only focused on how great your case will turn out whilst ignoring or downplaying the risks, they’re probably just saying what they think will get them the job.
An unethical lawyer will do you more harm than good.
The period your case is in court is more often than not stressful. You will probably have lots of questions about every stage of the case.
Good lawyers make sure that they give regular updates to their clients. This can give some reassurance and a peace of mind.
From the first meeting you can tell how available your attorney will be. They should be responsive to your needs and eager to hear any concerns you may have. Additionally, they will encourage you to call any time you have a concern.
Even if the lawyer will not always be able to attend to you directly, they will show you an assistant or paralegal that can provide you with updates.
The Lawyer you Pick Matters
Hopefully, this article adequately answers the question of how to choose a lawyer.
Court cases are judged based on facts that are presented to the judge or jury. The competence and level of commitment of your lawyer may affect their ability to gather the supportive evidence required to build your case.
Are you in need of representation? Take your time to evaluate your needs and go for an attorney who you resonate with.