Step 1: Determine Your Needs
The first step in choosing an attorney is determining what type of legal representation you need. There are many different areas of law, so you must find someone who specializes in the area where your case falls under.
For example, if you were injured at work and want compensation for medical bills or lost wages, you need an attorney specializing in personal injury law. On the other hand, if you are facing a divorce, you would need a family lawyer.
It’s also important to find an attorney familiar with the court system where your case will be tried. For instance, some attorneys specialize in state or federal courts, while others may only practice in one specific area of law (such as criminal defense).
Step 2: Do Some Research
After determining which type of attorney you need and where they practice, the next step is to research. It will help if you start by looking at websites or blogs written by attorneys in your area who specialize in the same field as yours.
These lawyers may also have a social media presence to regularly post about their cases and update how things are going with them. You can also ask friends or family members who have had experience with similar situations to recommend any particular lawyers based on their personal experiences.
If you don’t know anyone who can help you make this decision, another option is to consult with an attorney referral service. The American Bar Association (ABA) sponsors one of these services, which can provide you information on attorneys in your area who have expertise in dealing with cases similar to yours.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search based on recommendations from friends and family members or through the ABA referral service, it’s time to start contacting attorneys. You can either call them directly or send an email/letter stating that you’d like more information about their services and availability for your case.
Step 3: Choose the Right Attorney for Your Case
It’s crucial to find a lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to yours, so make sure they’ve worked on one before. For example, certain lawyers may only take specific cases, such as criminal defense or personal injury lawsuits. In contrast, other lawyers handle all kinds of legal matters, including divorces and residential real estate transactions.
If you’re looking at hiring an attorney to represent you in court proceedings against another party (such as a corporation), make sure they have experience doing so. You don’t want your case to go down without a fight because they don’t know what they’re doing!
One thing that’s always a good practice when hiring any professional service provider is asking for references from past clients who were satisfied with their work to get an idea of how well this person will treat you during negotiations or litigation.
Step 4: Assess the Value of the Attorney
After you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s time to assess each lawyer’s value. The best way to do this is by looking at their past cases and seeing their clients’ results.
For example, suppose an attorney has handled many different types of personal injury lawsuits but has only won a small percentage of them. Then, maybe it’s not worth hiring them because there is no guarantee that he will get you the same outcome for your case.
Never go with someone who says they can “guarantee” success because this means nothing unless you pay upfront fees before any work starts, and even then, there isn’t any guarantee that everything will go according to plan.
Step 5: Contact the Attorney
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s time to contact each attorney and see if they have availability for your case. Ensure that the lawyer can take on new clients so there won’t be any delays in representation or filing paperwork.
You’ll also want someone who has experience handling cases similar to yours because they’ll know how to navigate the court system and what to expect.
If you’re not sure if an attorney is a good fit for you, schedule a consultation with them so you can ask any questions that are on your mind and get a better idea of their qualifications. Most consultations are free or have a minimal fee associated with them.
Step 6: Get an Estimate of Fees
Before you hire anyone, it’s a good idea to get an estimate of how much the lawyer will charge for their services. This way, you won’t be caught off guard later on and can start budgeting for legal fees.
Many attorneys will give you a free consultation to get to know them better and ask any questions you have about their services. Ensure to inquire about the hourly rate, whether they charge for travel time or any other associated costs (like court filing fees).
Step 7: Meet with the Attorney Before Hiring Them!
It’s always a good idea to talk with an attorney before hiring them so you can get an accurate feel for their personality and how they communicate.
You don’t want someone who only speaks legalese because that will make it hard to understand what they’re saying.
Instead, look for someone who can break down things into layman’s terms and explain everything clearly without using jargon or complicated legal terminology.
When meeting with your potential lawyer, ask them questions about their past cases and credentials like education experience. Other questions you want to ask the attorney include:
- Do you have any experience handling cases like mine?
- Can I contact you if I have any questions after the consultation?
- How much do you charge per hour? Are there any other fees associated with your services?
- And last but not least, what are your hours of operation (days and times).
Step 8: Sign an Agreement and Get Started!
Once you’ve found the right lawyer for your case, sign an agreement with them and get started on your legal proceedings. Make sure to read over the terms of service carefully before signing anything and ask any questions about the agreement.
The best way to make sure everything goes smoothly is by working with a qualified attorney who knows what they’re doing and has your best interests in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask around for referrals or do some research online to find the right lawyer for you!
Now that you know how to choose the right attorney, it’s time to get started on your case! But before you hire an attorney, it would be best to consider their qualities.
Five Things to Look for in a Good Lawyer
A good lawyer will be able to help you with all aspects of your case, from filing paperwork and preparing documents through every stage up until the end when they represent you at trial or mediation sessions.
This means that it’s vital not only to choose someone who specializes in what type of law but also has the experience to handle your case.
Some qualities that you should look for in a good lawyer include:
1. Communication Skills
A good lawyer will communicate effectively with their client and other attorneys on both sides of the case. They should know how to ask questions without being too pushy or aggressive, listen keenly when others speak (and respond appropriately).
They’ll also have excellent writing skills to write documents like summonses/complaints, motions for summary judgment, or other legal papers that may need filing with courts.
Also, a good lawyer will be able to keep you informed about what’s going on with your case at every stage, so they should have excellent communication skills.
A lawyer who doesn’t return phone calls or emails promptly isn’t worth hiring because it means there might be problems down the road when you need them most.
2. Licensed in the State Where You Are Filing
The lawyer should be licensed to practice in your state. This is important because if they aren’t, then they can’t file any documents with courts or represent you at a hearing/trial.
They may also not be familiar with laws and regulations specific to your area, leading them to make mistakes while representing you.
You can check online to see if a lawyer is licensed in your state (or any other state) on the National Bar Association website.
If they’re licensed in another state, they may be able to represent you as long as they are admitted to practice law in that jurisdiction too.
3. A Great Lawyer Will Have Experience in What They Do
One of the most important qualities you should look for in a good lawyer is experience. You don’t want someone who only has one or two cases under their belt because they might be too new at this type of work.
That could lead to mistakes and errors that cost you money.
Great lawyers have plenty of expertise and knowledge about how the legal system works and how to get the best results for their clients.
They’ll also have a great understanding of the law in your state or province, as well as any relevant case law that could impact your case.
This experience will be invaluable when it comes time to go to court or negotiate with the other side. They’ll also be able to give you the best advice possible based on their own experiences dealing with your type of situation.
4. They’re Affordable
Cost of service is another critical factor to consider when hiring a lawyer. Not all lawyers charge by the hour, so make sure you ask about their fee structure upfront.
Some may also require an initial retainer payment to start your case and then bill you periodically for work done after that point.
The best way to get a good idea of what it’ll cost is by asking friends and family members who’ve used attorneys before (or even calling around).
This will give you some ballpark figures for how much their services typically run in your area so you can determine if hiring one makes sense financially speaking. You should also consider whether or not they’re willing to take payment plans if necessary.
You must know what payment methods are available before agreeing on any arrangement with them, so there aren’t any surprises later down the road.
Some lawyers only accept credit card payments, while others allow cash, checks, money orders, etc. A good lawyer will have no problem discussing payment options, so make sure you ask.
The last thing anyone wants is surprise costs when they’re already struggling financially.
5. Professionalism and Ethics
When looking for a lawyer, it’s essential to consider how they dress, speak to others, and are punctual.
Are they respectful to everyone they come into contact with? Do they seem like they have their client’s best interests at heart?
You should also Google the lawyer’s name and read any reviews that might be available online. This will help you understand how other people who’ve hired them felt about their experience.
Some attorneys may have negative reviews because they don’t properly care for their clients or treat them fairly.
If you’re having trouble finding anything, then check out Yelp and Avvo for more information about specific lawyers near you.
Most importantly, make sure that your lawyer is a good fit for who you are as well! There’s no use in hiring someone who doesn’t share your same values or ethics.
You should feel comfortable with them and be able to trust them implicitly.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right lawyer can seem daunting, but it’s worth taking the time to do some research upfront so you can make sure you’re making the best decision for yourself and your family.
Remember to ask around for recommendations, read reviews, and consider how much it’ll cost. Most importantly, make sure the lawyer you choose is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust implicitly.