It is a good thing to trust your gut feelings about a lawyer when you decide to pay for legal advice, however, a gut feeling isn’t enough to go on. Your inner sense about a lawyer is just one factor, among several others.
People find it difficult to choose the most suitable lawyer for them, especially if it’s their first time dealing with one. This article can guide you to help make the right choice.
This is fundamentally the most important factor in understanding how to choose a lawyer. You want a lawyer that is specialized in the problem you are seeking legal advice in.
If you find a lawyer advertising for several kinds of specialties, forget that and go to a specialized lawyer, whether you need a family lawyer, criminal, or any other specialty. Being board-certified isn’t a must for a lawyer, but it could be better because it proves they are specialized in a particular legal area.
The client-attorney relationship has to have clear communication. It is easy to presume the lawyer is doing a terrible job in your case, simply because you don’t understand what they’re doing, when in fact they might be doing a great job.
It is on the lawyer to explain things to you in a clear fashion. It is on you to understand that there are no guarantees, so be wary of those who promise a specific outcome.
You are not the only case of a firm, but you are the only case when it’s time to communicate with each other. A lawyer should be able to give you the legal options you have for your case and tell you how they plan to approach the case.
There is no reason to expect an attorney to be your friend, but there are other realistic expectations such as giving you possible options, respecting the client’s choice of actions, and being honest and ethical.
Choose a Lawyer within Your Area
Pick a lawyer within the state that your case belongs to. This ensures that the attorney is well-versed in the laws of that state. This is a common problem that many people are faced with, especially if they have been in an accident in a state other than the one they reside in.
For instance, if you live in Miami, Florida but visiting Fredericksburg, Virginia, and get into a car accident in Virginia, attorneys from https://www.marksandharrison.com/our-locations/fredericksburg-office/car-accident-lawyers/ advise seeking a personal injury lawyer from Virginia. This helps if you have to bring about a legal suit against someone if you are not the party at fault.
If you are involved in a vehicle accident it would be under the jurisdiction of Virginia law. The case would be filed in Virginia and abides by the state’s personal injury law.
Skill vs Experience
Ideally, you want both. You could hire a lawyer who doesn’t have years of experience but is very skilled in what they do. By the same token, years of experience don’t always account for a highly-skilled lawyer.
Bar associations around the country deal with the unethical behavior of some lawyers. A lawyer might not be very bright which is very different than being unethical. So it’s easier to try and judge competency from the get-go.
A lawyer seemingly distracted, has no interest in your case, doesn’t return phone calls or messages, misses important deadlines, and has a sketchy way of billing you are all telltale signs of incompetency. It shouldn’t be shocking, but just because you hired a lawyer doesn’t mean they are all competent.
Don’t get over-impressed with a lawyer’s online site. A firm might have excellent SEO (search engine optimization) practices, but less excellence in law. Visit the office and see for yourself how they present themselves. Look for things like how an attorney gives and receives respect to and from members in their firm, for instance. If you sense any fishiness, you might consider moving on to another one.
Make Use of the Free Consultation
Most people jump right into their case during the free consultation, but you also have the chance to ask questions and interview the lawyer and make a judgment. Ask about other similar cases they have handled, their years of expertise in this area, how many cases have they won compared to how many they have taken on, etc. There’s plenty of smart questions to ask to decide if this is the lawyer for you.
In the end, you want to feel comfortable with your lawyer. A lawyer must work diligently on your case, be ethical, respect confidentiality, explain their procedure and your options, tell you the specifics of fees, and generally work loyally in your best interest. You, in turn, do your homework before hiring, provide the requested information, be honest, and respect their time. Then you can go with your gut feelings.