Legal Services are Products

How do you know what lawyer is best for you?  Consumers typically research potential representation whose area of practice are consistent with their needs.  Each candidate must be carefully studied.  Here are four effective steps to choose the best lawyer for your legal needs.

  1. Interview Potential Attorneys:

One of the most effective ways to determine if your lawyer’s legal abilities is by arranging an interview with him/her.  Most attorneys provide a free initial consultation.  This is usually about an hour or less and consists of the explanation of your situation.  It is essential in this time you ask these very important questions:

What experience does he/she have in your specific circumstance?

How long has he/she been practicing?

What is his/her success rate?

What percentage of his/her caseload would be dedicated to handling your case?

What are his/her special skills or certifications?

What is his/her fee schedule and how is it structured?  (For example, do they pro-rate phone calls, charge paralegal fees, xerox fees, etc.)

Does he/she carry malpractice insurance?

Would there be anyone else working on your case?

If there would be, what are there titles and how much are their rates?

Does he/she outsource any legal tasks for functions?

How often does billings occur?

Does he/she have any references from previous clients?

Does he/she have written fee or representation agreement?

How will he/she inform you of developments in your case?

Remember, a higher fee does not always mean a more qualified attorney.  Conversely, a significantly more inexpensive lawyer can signal inexperience or incompetence toward your particular need.

After you have completed this process, it is now up to you to decide if he/she is the person you trust moving forward with your case.  You may want to ask yourself these questions:

Is he/she compatible with your legal needs?

Did he/she provide prompt and courteous responses to your questions?

Do you feel comfortable working with him/her?

Are you fully understanding the fee structure?

Are you comfortable with the terms of the fee and representation agreement?

  1. Ask Other Attorneys:

Lawyers often know the skills, capabilities, and reputation of other Lawyers.  They may be able to provide some vital information about a fellow lawyer that you may not be able to find online.

  1. Conduct A Background Check:

Prior to hiring any Lawyer, it is important to contact the State Bar Association to make sure they are in good standing and does not have any disciplinary action against him/her.  You can access the disciplinary agencies online as they pertain to your Lawyer.

  1. Tour the Lawyer’s Firm Location:

You can tell a lot about a person’s work by taking a brief tour of his/her office.  Request a tour of the office beyond the conference room.  Look for the following characteristics:

Is the office neat, orderly, and efficient?

What kind of support staff does the lawyer have?

Is the staff courteous, friendly and helpful?

Is the office local and easily accessible?

Is a large portion of the space unoccupied?

Watch for potential red flags like unhappy staff members, unreturned phone calls, and empty offices.  It can reveal a lot about the Lawyers interpersonal skills.  Following these 4 steps can help you hire the best Lawyer for your case.

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