With over 1.3 million lawyers licensed to practice law in the U.S, how does one decide which lawyer is best suited for their case? Choosing the right lawyer is a time-consuming but critical process. Like any other consumer transaction you’ll engage in, doing your homework is vital. If you know one personally, they’ll likely be your first option. Generally, most people start their search by asking their relatives if they can recommend a legal expert. But with technology and the internet, more and more people are now searching their lawyers online. Whatever method you use, you want to choose a reasonable attorney and not limit yourself to the first name you get. To help you in this choice, follow the tips below when selecting your legal representative.
1. Identify Your Legal Issue
What legal problem are you facing? Generally, the law has a myriad of specialties and subspecialties. According to attorneys at BelesLaw.com, when looking for an attorney to hire, it’s recommended that you address the legal issues you may be having. During this phase, you can consult a general corporate lawyer or a trusted business partner before narrowing down your choice of lawyer. Depending on your legal hurdle, you want to choose a specialist who can best handle your problem. Today, lawyers are as specialized as doctors. This means you need an attorney specializing in the area where you’re seeking representation.
2. Conduct Interviews
The best way to evaluate an attorney’s legal ability is to interview them. Most lawyers provide a consultation – usually less than an hour – at no charge. During the interview, you want to ask the lawyer about their legal experience in your type of legal issue. The lawyer should also tell you how long they have been practicing law. You also want to ask if they have any special skills or certifications. Once a lawyer gives you this information, it becomes easier to choose your preferred candidate.
3. Consider Cost and Billing
Cost is an essential factor when choosing an attorney. How much you plan to spend is up to you. Do your homework before asking a lawyer to give you a quote. Additionally, you also want to know how a particular lawyer bills their clients. This can vary from an hourly rate, contingency fee, flat rate, or even a negotiable fee. Ask your attorney if the fee also includes expenses such as travel, filing, shipping, etc. In most cases, lawyers don’t treat these costs the same way, and they could bill them separately.
Have you watched the Suits, an American legal drama television series? Although a brilliant lawyer, one character who plays a protagonist didn’t have a license to practice law. That’s a film, but meeting someone like that in real life would be another story, agonizingly spoiled by reality. Avoid working with an unqualified person on your case. This can quickly bring down your whole struggle. Check whether the attorney you want to hire has a license to practice by searching the state bar website. This ensures you’re not working with fraud or someone who will mess your case.
5. Use Referrals
The best way to find an excellent attorney is to ask for referrals. If someone close to you has been in a similar situation, ask who represented them legally. If their lawyer’s experience was poor, you could remove their name from your list of potential lawyers. But if your friend or colleague sings praises about them, contact them to make an appointment. However, don’t stop here. Once you’ve settled on your ideal candidate, do some online digging. Check the reputation of the lawyer and their conduct. If they have several bad reviews, choose another lawyer. Remember: choosing the best lawyer could be one of the most critical decisions you ever make, so take time and choose wisely.
6. Work with a Lawyer Familiar with Your Region
Whether you work with a local or national specialist depends on your legal issue. For instance, employee compensation or personal injury matters are almost always handled locally. However, federal law cases, such as labor laws and wages, are best handled by national specialists. With technology, it’s possible to use a lawyer from almost any part of the country. Generally, an attorney familiar with your region has better knowledge of the local laws and regulations. They’re also familiar with the personalities of local judicial authorities. This makes it easier for them to work on your case.
This guide doesn’t intend to cover every scenario or to be exhaustive. Additional factors will also be relevant depending on your situation. Generally, this guide covers the primary considerations that should assist you when choosing an attorney. With the tips above, you should have the answers to help you narrow down your list of preferred legal representatives. Over to you!