Attorney Hire Guide: offering practical advise in searching for an attorney

You need an attorney, you have asked family, friends, and strangers on the street, you have googled and read reviews on-line, but how do you really know that the attorney you are hiring will be right for you?

Once the decision is made that you need an attorney, the next step, actually hiring the attorney is crucial to your case and your experience throughout the legal process.  Your issue is unique to your circumstances and situations, I have been practicing law for nearly a decade and no two cases are the same.  You need an attorney that understands this concept.

We are providing you with some considerations when looking at different lawyer and law sites.  Many of the sites are professionally mananged by a marketing director or someone who’s job is to get you to make that phone call.  It may not boast information that is really important to your search for a lawyer.  It’s had to sift through all of the lawyer advertising out there – how can you tell who is good and who is just so so. After all, you blindly go into a doctor’s office and trust that doctor is a professional and is   but do you know if he or she is at the top of their game. Do you know if he or she will be committed to hearing your concerns or looking for the causes of your symptoms or will this particular doctor just treat the symptoms.

  1. Lawyer Advertising – does it say anything important to you?

We are providing some considerations with reviewing lawyer advertising, either online or through TV and Radio ads. Experience is important, but those that flaunt 35 or 50 years of experience are not really telling you anything. The attorney that has been around for 50 years may have seen a lot, but what does that tell you about how he or she could handle your important legal matter.  In fact, if your issue requires an attorney to conduct a trial-the attorney with the most experience in terms of years may not have any more actual trial experience then those with less than 5 years of experience. Be mindful of this pitfall, time does not equate with expertise and/or the type of experience that you may need.

The same is true with combined experience.  Combined experience doesn’t mean more it’s just a some of all of the ages of those who are practicing together.  If there are ten attorneys, one with 10 years of experience and 9 with one year of experience each- that combined is 19 years.  Which sounds like a lot but is little if its not in the wheelhouse of your issue.

  1. Free Consultation vs. Pay Consultation

Some lawyers offer a free consultation to any potential client, some offer limited consultations, and some offer very low fee consultations.   A lawyer that may offer a free consultation to all clients may not review your case as thoroughly as one that is charging for his or her services.  We are a fan of low cost consultations because it allows for a greater review of the issue that you are dealing with.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for specific information on an attorney’s approach to your legal issue during the consultation.  This is your time to determine if this is the right lawyer for your issue/case.

  1. Cost of Representation

The cost of representation is set based the complexity of the issues involved in the case, the dedicated time the lawyer would require for the case, and the lawyers experience in handling the issues. When evaluating an attorney, stay away from a cheap is bad and expensive is better mindset. It is better to look at the individual attorney to see where or how he or she is setting the fee.  Good rule of thumb is the hire the best attorney that you can afford.  If you cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify for free representation, if your matter is a criminal law matter.

Lawyers may charge fees for different cases different ways. These include: a flat fee, hourly rate, and/or contingency fee. A flat rate typically means that the work completed is for the fee charged upfront. This rate may or may not include the cost of extra items, such as copying, travel time, investigative services, ect.  These are questions that should be asked of your attorney each and every time.

  1. Avoid the Red Herrings

There are some red flags that you should be aware of when hiring an attorney. For example, if the attorney guarantees or promises a result or specific outcome, be very suspicious. Many times, this could come back against you.

Second, be aware of attorneys using scare tactics- you need me or else. Your relationship with your attorney should be personal and you should understand the seriousness of your situation, but trying to scare you into hiring an attorney is pointless. After all, you know you need an attorney otherwise you would not be interviewing the attorney.

Similarly, bragging about similar results in other case. Just because an attorney got one result in a case does not mean that the same attorney will get a similar result in your case. An attorney’s previous record is really not very helpful because each case and issues differ.   Also the facts and circumstances of one case cannot be duplicated in another case

Setting a meeting with a prospective attorney

Going into an attorney meeting, you should have some questions prepared to address your specific issues, your expectation of case management, and timetables. It is better to have a realistic understanding of your case procedure and management then to set unrealistic expectations that can later lead to more stress and confusion.  For more information on what to ask during your attorney consultation click here to receive a FREE GUIDE to what to ask your prospective attorney.

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