Choosing legal counsel is an important decision. If you need help with a criminal or civil matter, you want the situation resolved quickly and effectively. Working with an attorney who won’t give your case the attention it deserves can have serious repercussions. The right attorney for you will inspire confidence and convey competence. Here are some important things to consider about how to find the right attorney.
Your counsel needs experience working in the area of the law that you need help with. For example, you probably wouldn’t want an attorney who handles only family law cases to handle a criminal case. Ensure that a firm has experience in a particular practice area before you reach out.
Likewise, you should look for a firm that is experienced working in the geographic area where your case will be heard. Attorneys are licensed by state, but court’s dockets and policies can be very different in each city or county. If you need to find a DUI lawyer in Seattle, for example, reach out to a firm that has experience trying those types of cases in that area. A local bar association can help steer you towards firms that handle certain practice areas in specific cities or regions.
Many law firms allocate a sizable portion of their operating budget towards advertising. However, just because you see a lot of advertisements for a firm doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s particularly reputable or professional. An overly forced or salesy approach to getting clients may in fact be a red flag. If you’re looking at a law firm’s commercial and considering whether you should work with one of its attorney’s, consider what you think of the messaging. Do the attorneys look professional or do they seem like they’re pitching you a sales gimmick?
The best law firms don’t need to beg for business. Successful firms will certainly advertise, but they will use ethical and professional advertising practices. They won’t present themselves as salesmen or promise prospective clients unreasonable results.
Depending on the nature of your case, you may have to pay for a just a moderate number of billable hours. More complex and protracted litigation could involve a considerable number of hours. While an attorney probably cannot tell you exactly how many hours a representation will involve, he or she should be able to provide you with some type of projection about the possible costs that you may incur. You may have to pay a retainer fee. This type of fee retainer does not represent the entirety of what you will have to pay, and you may have expenses beyond the amount of a retainer. Likewise, your case could theoretically cost less than a retainer payment.
You shouldn’t choose the least expensive attorney by default. However, simply being more expensive than competitors doesn’t always mean that an attorney is better. Look for an attorney whose rates you feel comfortable with. Relay your expectations about how you will be billed, and ask questions about what information will be included in invoices.
People who attorneys have previously represented may offer some good insight into what it’s like to work with them. In general, you want to see reviews that report satisfaction with a representation and the outcome. Typically, a good review would describe an attorney as knowledgeable, reliable, and responsive.
Don’t rely wholly on testimonials on a firm’s website. Consider third-party sources, and check the Better Business Bureau to see if there are active unresolved complaints against a firm.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t feel as though you have to work with the first attorney who you find. If you speak with an attorney but don’t feel confident forging ahead, you should probably check out other options. Navigating a difficult legal problem is a lot less worrisome when you have confidence in your counsel.
Publish Date: February 12, 2021 5:13 AM