Seven Things to Look For When Choosing a Lawyer
Disclaimer: Nothing in this website should be misconstrued as legal advice. If you seek legal advice, please speak with an attorney. I am not an attorney.
When we hear the word lawyer, many generally think of personal injury attorneys helping people get compensation for their injuries. Or perhaps criminal defense lawyers helping people get their criminal or DUI charges reduced or dropped. However, attorneys can also help with real estate matters, bankruptcy, family law, taxes, business litigation issues, estate planning and more. With hundreds of lawyers near you advertising, how do you know which law firm to choose?
Make sure you understand where your claim has to be filed
Sometimes, your case may need to be filed other than where you live. For example if you are injured by a defective product and need to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, your local attorney may not be admitted where the claim needs to be filed. If you’re not sure, its ok to put in a call locally to a well-regarded law firm. Most good lawyers have a team of lawyers they work with who they refer work out to if they are not the best person to handle your case. They may be able to provide you a direct referral or at least tell you where to look geographically speaking. Either way you should continue following the steps below.
Find an attorney focused on your type of claim
What do you need help with? Are you closing on a house? Did you get pulled over for DUI? Once you’ve determined what kind of help you need, you can start looking for a lawyer who has done a lot of these claims before. There’s nothing wrong with a general practice attorney, but many may not have the same expertise for your particular type of claim as an attorney who takes a more focused approach. If you’ve been seriously injured, finding the right lawyer will likely make a big difference in the amount you are awarded.
Check their reviews online
Most attorneys in 2022 have a listing on Google or various legal websites like this one. Not all good attorneys have reviews, but it is unusual to find a good attorney who is loaded up with bad reviews. Doing a little background work on Google and checking the Better Business Bureau will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
How much experience do they have?
Experience usually matters in terms of choosing a lawyer. Sometimes it is in your best interest to choose a hungry young lawyer who has more time and energy to devote to your case. But when you need experience, there is no replacement for it. The relationships and actual time in the courtroom can make a big difference.
Make sure you understand the financial terms of your agreement
Make sure that you understand the terms you are agreeing to. Do not treat this like the new agreement for ITunes, where you think, “I’m not reading this,” and skip ahead. Make sure your attorney is transparent about their rates and how they will be compensated. Your lawyer should be able to provide you with a rough estimate of the cost of their services. A billable range is normal for many types of legal issues.
How big is the law firm?
Depending on your type of case, you may want a small law firm or a big law firm. There are advantages to both depending on what type of legal case you need assistance with. If you prefer a more personal touch, a smaller firm may be your preference. If you need a big powerful firm to go up against an insurance company, the larger firm with a team of lawyers may be preferable.
Find out who will be handling your case
In many cases, paralegals and other lawyers may be the ones actually working on your case. Make sure you know this up front and you are clear in your consultation who will be handling your case. It isn’t unusual for multiple people to handle a case, but you likely want the attorney you are hiring to be leading the team and hands-on with your case.
Most importantly, contact a lawyer quickly as time may be limited to get the legal help you want and need
There is what is called a statute of limitations on many claims, there are rules and time frames that must be followed with issues from bankruptcy to Social Security. It it usually a good rule of thumb to get your attorney to work for you as quickly as possible.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be website as legal advice. If you seek legal advice, please speak with an attorney. I am not an attorney.
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