Most people don’t have any experience hiring an attorney. After all, it isn’t something the average individual needs…until something goes wrong.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need the assistance of a lawyer, it’s important that you take a strategic approach to finding and hiring the right person for the job. Otherwise, you could end up compounding your frustrations and challenges.
5 Things You Should Know
If you live in a decent sized city or town, you likely have an array of attorneys to choose from. Some will be good, some will be bad, and most will fall somewhere in between. In order to increase your chances of finding an attorney who lands on the former end of the spectrum, you’ll need to be meticulous in your approach.
- Recommendations Are Important
There are dozens of methods you can use to come up with a shortlist of candidates. The problem is that not all of these channels are trustworthy or reliable.
“Much like hiring a contractor or a babysitter, the best thing you can do is take the advice of a trusted friend,” Rocket Lawyer advises. “You wouldn’t hire a babysitter from a TV ad, and you shouldn’t hire your attorney through one either. If none of your friends or relatives have recommendations, there are myriad places online that can help you narrow your search.”
When searching online, take a look at different review and rating sites where you can see what past clients and/or peers say. With more research come better insights.
- Certain Traits Matter More
When it comes to the attorney search process, there’s a lot to take in. Everyone has their own opinions on which traits and skills are most important. Different lawyers will tell you different things in regards to how you should proceed. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.
In order to avoid getting tossed around by the waves, you should have a predetermined shortlist of traits and skills you’re looking for. These may include: good communication skills, sound judgment, analytical skills, research skills, people skills, perseverance, and creativity.
- Know When the Client-Attorney Relationship Starts
There’s often a misunderstanding of what client-attorney privilege is and when it starts. Familiarizing yourself with the rules here will ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
In essence, the client-attorney privilege rule says that attorneys may not divulge client secrets, nor may others force them to. And while some believe it starts the moment they have a conversation with an attorney, this isn’t necessarily true. As Louisville-based Becker Law Office explains, there is no client-attorney relationship until both parties have reached a mutual understanding and signed an agreement.
- Attorneys are Specialists
In one sense, attorneys are like doctors. While they may have a broad knowledge of legal topics, they really specialize in a certain area. As you look for an attorney for your situation, make sure you’re looking for someone who specializes in your area – rather than a general practitioner who lacks a specific focus. This will ensure you get the best attention to detail that you can.
- Ask These Questions in Your Consultation
Most attorneys offer a free or low-cost initial consultation that allows both parties to get a feel for one another and determine if it’s a good fit. In order to take full advantage of this consultation, make sure you ask smart questions like these:
- How many cases similar to mine have you represented?
- What is your fee structure like? How are costs billed?
- Will part of my case be handled by paralegals or legal assistants?
- What are all of the options for my case?
- What do you think is the most likely outcome in my case?
As you get an attorney to open up and talk, you’ll learn a lot about who they are and what they stand for. This will give you some picture of how they work.
Adding it All Up
Whether it’s for a small financial issue or a serious injury, hiring an attorney for the first time can be an intimidating process. The more thought you give to it, the more likely it is that you’ll find the right person for the job.
Hopefully these topics have given you something to think about.