It is important to make careful considerations when hiring an attorney to represent you. Read the top 4 tips below in order to make sure you hire the appropriate attorney for your unique situation.
1) Do I need a Lawyer?
First, ask yourself whether you need a lawyer and think through your problem and issues.
- Think about whether you can solve the problem on your own or if you truly need a lawyer. Sometimes, this will be easy. For example, if you are charged with a crime, you NEED a lawyer and sooner rather than later. Other problems won’t be so immediate, however.
- Numerous lawyers provide free consultations on initial visits, so take advantage of that consultation to further define the problem(s) and determine if you need a lawyer.
2) Finding the Right Lawyer for You
Not every lawyer is going to be a good fit for you, and you won’t be a good fit for every lawyer.
- Ask your friends and family for referrals for a lawyer who is reputable.
- Research online, including google searches and review the lawyer’s website to determine what his/her experience level is and get a feel for the lawyer’s background.
- Consider interviewing 2-3 lawyers before you make your decision, to decide who seems like the best “fit” for you, will be most committed to your case, is competent, and will have the time to help you.
3) Hiring a Lawyer
Relying on referrals and your own research, select a few lawyers who seem appropriate for your situation and conduct interviews.
- Before interviewing, ask the lawyer or staff whether you can have a free initial consultation.
- During the interview, get the lawyer’s thoughts on your situation, his/her experience and familiarity with the type of problem, and if you are potentially interested, ask for an engagement letter describing the scope of the lawyer’s services, and how costs and fees are determined.
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of the role of the attorney, and the fees and costs you will be charged is very important at the start of the relationship.
- Carefully review the engagement letter, and if you have questions, make sure you ask them and get a clear understanding of the terms of the representation.
4) During the Representation
Make sure you establish clear lines of communication with the lawyer and staff as well as what method of communication is best. Lawyers are sometimes in court, or out of town, and so you will need to communicate with staff members as well. If you have questions or problems, be proactive and make an appointment to speak about them
You are paying for the service and deserve to be kept apprised of developments in your case. You should make sure you invest time and effort into the lawyer/client relationship so that the lawyer and his/her office do a great job representing your interests.