An attorney represents you in court or with the insurance company if you have a problem or accident. It is a difficult task to find the best attorney near you. The question is, How do you choose the best lawyer for your needs? Like any other product or service, the wise customer conducts thorough research before making an informed decision.
Because your choice will affect your future, once you whittle down lawyer referrals to a few good ones with expertise in the relevant practice area, you need to carefully research each candidate. Here are five steps to choosing the best lawyer for your needs.
There are various ways to finding the best lawyer, but one of the best ways to judge a lawyer’s ability is by interviewing them. Most lawyers will provide an introductory discussion (usually an hour) without any charge. Here are a few questions you have to consider:
- How much experience does the lawyer have in your type of legal matter?
- How long have they been in practice?
- What is their history of success?
- What percentage of their caseload is committed to dealing with your type of problem?
- Do they hold any unique experiences or certifications?
- What are their prices, and how are they structured?
- Do they provide negligence coverage? If so, how much?
- What other problems might arise from your situation, and can they handle them?
- Do they outsource any essential tasks?
- What extra costs might be included in addition to attorney fees (postage, filing charges, copy fees, etc.)?
- Can they give recommendations from other customers?
- Do they have a signed fee contract or representation agreement?
- How will they notify you of changes in your case?
High fees do not necessarily mean you are interviewing a more experienced lawyer. Conversely, a rock-bottom fee may indicate problems, inexperience, or incompetence.
After you are finished meeting with the lawyer, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the lawyer’s skills, experience, and background compatible with your legal requirements?
- Did they give timely and polite responses to your questions?
- Are they someone you would be pleased working with?
- Are you sure they have the skills and experience to manage your case?
- Are you satisfied with their fees and how they are structured?
- Are you comfortable with the terms of the fee and representation contract?
Ask Other Attorneys
Every lawyer has unique skills, and they gain their experience with teamwork. Lawyers know the power and reputation of other lawyers. Other attorneys can provide information about a fellow lawyer that you may not find in a book or online sources. Ask other attorneys about about standards, skill level, attitude, practice habits, and reputation.
Conduct a Background Check
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Before hiring any lawyer, contact the bar association’s disciplinary agency in your county to confirm that they are in excellent standing as a member of the bar.
For an online listing of any lawyer’s disciplinary actions, examine the state or county directory of lawyer disciplinary actions. You should regularly check references, mainly if you found the lawyer through the Internet. You can also check a lawyer’s match review classes online at law-related websites. Match review ratings provide an accurate sign of a lawyer’s excellency standards and professional ability, created from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States.
Tour the Lawyer’s Law Office
You can tell a lot about an attorney from his law office. Ask for a short tour of his office, the entire, office, not just the meeting room where you interviewed with the lawyer. Is the law office clean, efficient, and well-run? What kind of staff does the attorney employ? Does the team appear kind and capable? Is a substantial part of the office space abandoned?
By using those steps, you can choose a lawyer with the legal skills and personal qualities that will best serve your needs.