When legal issues arise, the overwhelming reality that you need to hire an attorney sets in. Typically, time isn’t on your side and your options can feel endless. What can you do to narrow down your search?
When you need to select an attorney, keep these tips in mind:
TIP #1: Ask for recommendations from someone you trust.
Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and professional advisors for some help. Your circle of contacts likely has similar expectations (or know yours). If they have had a comparable experience to yours, asking for a recommendation is a great way to weed through endless names of attorneys you may encounter when searching on your own. Your contacts will also know what is important to you and who, based on that, would be a good fit.
TIP #2: You have done your initial research- now make sure you do your leg work.
If you have narrowed your call list down to a select few, now is a good time to review their websites, social media, AVVO profile, etc., to see what other clients have said about the quality of their work. Make sure you not only review the firm, but the actual attorney you would be working with as well. You can tell a lot about a firm from their website and online presence. What are their qualifications? What awards have they received? Are they providing helpful content in their blogs? Do they speak at events? Are they active in their community?
What do people check the most on our site? Attorney bios. You can get a feel for the person you would be working with from what their bio says, and how it is written. Their personal style can show through.
TIP #3: Do they have prior experience.
Make sure that the attorney you are hiring has the experience you need for your case and has worked on several cases like yours. For instance, if you are hiring a special education lawyer, you will not want to have your divorce or real estate attorney helping you with your situation (unless they have experience in that area). People get comfortable with one person and will give them additional business before finding someone with the skills they need. You wouldn’t necessarily want your dry cleaner fixing your car, would you?
TIP #4: What is most important to YOU.
Is it money? If so, what are the lawyer’s fees? Hourly? On retainer? Free consultation? Where is the office in relation to where you live or work? Is it convenient to get to? What are their certifications, credentials and other accolades? Do they teach, do they host seminars? Are they involved in the community? People often feel intimidated by a lawyer or uncomfortable talking to one. Were you put at ease when you called to get more information?
TIP #5: Be clear about your expectations.
Before you hire an attorney (or firm), ask them to provide a clear explanation on timing and deliverables. You should know what they will accomplish on your behalf, what their charges will be and when they are due, how many times you should expect to hear from your attorney, how quickly someone calls you or emails you back, etc. Will they put this in a written retainer agreement for you?
Above are some basic tips to get you started. Most importantly, remember to engage a lawyer early in the process. Undoing missteps early on is often harder and more expensive than addressing the original problem quickly in the first place.
For more information on SRDD Law, our service and our attorneys, visit us online.