If you have a legal issue that needs to be resolved in a timely manner, you may need to hire a lawyer. Lawyers are specifically trained and educated on our legal system and can offer advisement and insight about your particular case that you won’t be able to find in books or on the Internet.
The easy part is finding a lawyer. You can flip open a phone book and find numerous law offices to choose from. The hard part is finding a lawyer that is “right” for you. You not only want a lawyer who is honest, reliable and accomplished, you also want one who you feel comfortable dealing with. Think carefully about the legal services you require. Many lawyers practice law for their entire lives and never even set foot in a courtroom because most of the work they do is for consultation purposes only.
One way to begin your search is to ask your friends and family for a reference to a lawyer experienced and knowledgeable in the particular field you are in need of, whether it be personal injury law, employment law, criminal law, etc. Most people tend to put a lot of trust in their friends and family, and often seek them out first for advice and recommendations regarding legal, financial and even marital issues. There are also Internet services available to help you find a lawyer. They work like Internet dating services only they match you to a lawyer based on the criteria you provide. These client-attorney matching services are free, fast and entirely confidential.
Set up a meeting with two or more lawyers to “feel” them out. Ask them how long they have been in practice. Any lawyer that has been practicing for 10 years or more will have the right amount of experience. Ask them what percentage of their practice involves the kind of case you are facing. If the answer is less than 75 percent, say “goodbye.” Discuss the minor details of your case to get a sense of whether or not they are interested. You want a lawyer who will invest time and effort into your case, and if they lack interest they will most likely lack time and effort as well. Lastly, ask them how much they charge. Most defense attorneys do not collect a penny unless you win your case.
Do not judge a lawyer by the size of his or her law firm. Size has absolutely nothing to do with how well a lawyer will represent you and handle your case. Most people tend to think that a smaller law firm means less experience. Sometimes smaller law firms can offer more personal attention.
Above all else, go with your gut and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, in most cases it isn’t. You are hiring a lawyer to work for you, not against you. Lawyers should be hired based on their expertise. The “right” lawyer will know how to handle your case effectively, honestly and with your best interest at hand.