Whether you’re gearing up for a harrowing legal battle, or you just need a bit of advice from an attorney, you should look for someone who will represent your interests in the right way. There are plenty to choose from, but remember: not all lawyers are created equal. Here are some things to look for when choosing an attorney.
Honesty and Good Communication
Any prospective lawyer should give a forthright and thorough opinion of your chances for winning your case. If he or she seems too optimistic or dodges eye contact with you, consider moving on. Before you even set up a meeting with a lawyer, look into that person’s reputation and the reputation of the firm they work with. Someone known for underhanded tactics can hurt your chances of success before legal proceedings even begin.
Your legal representation should communicate well with you from the beginning to the end of the legal process. Investopedia.com advises, “Be sure to ask the attorney if it’s OK to call them throughout the case to discuss any concerns you may have. If he or she balks at the idea, it may indicate that you’ll have trouble relaying your thoughts and obtaining answers…”
One of the main questions you should ask your potential attorney is, “What are your credentials?” Many attorneys have an area of specialty and have spent years working in that specific field, which will give you an edge as the proceedings move forward.
Depending on the particulars of your case, you may want a local attorney who knows your region well and is an expert on county and city laws. You can use a professional attorney directory to search for lawyers within a specific area. If your case deals more with federal and state laws, finding an attorney who is close by is not as important, and you can feel free to broaden your search.
The thought of paying for an attorney may make you shudder, so before you commit to one, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how and what they expect you to pay. It is common for attorneys to charge by the hour, but other methods of billing exist as well. Ask questions. Will they charge you for postage, travel, copying, etc? Ask for an estimate for the handling of your case from beginning to end, and weigh that against your budget.
Attorneys are fiercely competitive, so it’s worth looking into how accommodating they are willing to be to get your business.
Professionalism is an overall attitude that shows how dedicated an attorney is to his or her job and to your needs as a client. Honesty is part of being a professional, but it goes beyond that. Your attorney should project a neat and clean image, show up to appointments on time and well-prepared, and show respect for others even when things get frustrating.
The above tips are a good place to start when you embark on your search for an attorney. Finding the right person to represent you can make the difference between a relatively smooth experience and one full of frustration.