Whether you are buying a home, drafting a trust or will, or involved in a legal issue, it is vital that you have the best legal counsel available. Hiring the right attorney can make a big difference no matter what your legal needs are and there are some things that can help ensure that you choose the right lawyer for your situation.
Trust your Instincts
Attorneys often offer a free initial consultation. Take advantage of that offer. Use the consultation to not only talk about your case, but to get a feel for whether or not the attorney will be a good fit. Many people have the ability to determine someone’s character by simply talking with them. Whether or not you have that ability, if your instincts tell you that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. It is important to feel that your lawyer is honest and doing his or her best for you and if there are doubts it is always better to look elsewhere.
Will the Attorney be Thorough and Responsive?
You can also use the initial consultation to determine whether or not your lawyer will be responsive and detail oriented. Let your instincts be your guide in this as well. Ask your attorney if it is acceptable for yo to contact them during your case in order to discuss whatever concerns you might have. It he or she hesitates in any way, it may be a sign that you will have trouble obtaining answers or relaying your thoughts when your case begins. Also ask whether you will be given periodic updates either in writing or by phone and whether he or she will be the point of contact or you will be going through a paralegal or assistant. There are few things more stressful than an attorney who won’t respond to your question or listen to your concerns. Make sure that the line of communication will remain open.
Make sure they have Experience
An attorney that you can trust is important, but it is also important that they be experienced in the field or law that you need them for. For example, an estate lawyer will best be able to help you draft a will while a trial lawyer is needed for defense in a criminal case. Like Doctors, lawyers often have specialties and you should be sure that you choose one who specializes in what you need.
How much will it Cost?
While honesty, experience, and responsiveness are important, they will mean nothing if you can’t afford the fee. Price should be discussed in the initial consultation and limits should be set. You don’t want to find out half way through your case that your attorney is charging per letter, per hearing, etc. It is wise to try to get a written estimate of litigation costs and if possible, stipulate a maximum amount. While these things won’t be set in stone, at least you’ll have a ballpark figure and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Finding the right attorney may take time. Don’t rush to choose the first candidate that you talk to. Your time and patience can prevent a bad legal experience in the long run.