Choosing the right lawyer for you can make a big difference in how your case goes and whether it is successful. It can also help you avoid legal problems in the future if you have a good attorney working for you.
A Lawyer’s Reputation
Ask around to see if anyone knows of any lawyers who are well-respected in their fields. Referrals from past clients are usually the best. You might ask your employer, a doctor or other professional who you trust, friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors. They may be able to suggest someone who has handled similar issues and who they are satisfied with.
Your State Bar Association
Every attorney licensed to practice in your home state should appear in the bar association’s directory. The profile will contain basic information such as their name, address, telephone number, disciplinary history and any other names they have used to practice law.
The bar association’s website also lists attorneys by specialty, so you can select the right person to handle your case.
Look for a lawyer www.lawyersearcher.com who accepts cases by contingency, which means that the lawyer will get paid only if he or she wins your case. This arrangement can save you money if the lawyer wins, as it avoids costs such as legal fees and court costs.
Some lawyers offer free consultations; others will charge a minimal fee for a limited time. Talk to a few different lawyers to find out what kind of fee structure will work best for your situation.
Consider your financial situation and any other factors that might affect your choice of an attorney. Many lawyers offer payment plans, and some require an advance payment to cover initial expenses such as court costs and other disbursements.
When hiring a lawyer, it is important to follow your instincts and hire someone you feel comfortable with. You are putting your life, your business and your reputation in his or her hands.
A lawyer should be able to explain the legal process and what is expected of you in plain terms that you understand. This includes how he or she will communicate with you, how much time he or she will spend on your case, what kinds of documents he or she will need from you and when those documents should be submitted to the court.
The lawyer should be competent, knowledgeable and ethically bound to a high standard of practice. Continuing legal education is one of the ways lawyers improve their skills. A good lawyer keeps up with the latest developments in his or her field, and takes advantage of the opportunities to network with other professionals.
Be organized when meeting with the lawyer, bringing written materials that describe your case, including all the witnesses and their addresses and phone numbers. It’s also helpful to bring any receipts, medical bills, repair estimates or other paperwork that will relate to your case.
Before selecting a lawyer, you should also check to see if the lawyer is an active member of your state’s bar association or bar committee. Membership in a committee indicates that the lawyer is interested in a specific area of law, but does not necessarily mean that he or she has the knowledge and experience to represent you in your case.