Finding a Good Lawyer
|Last Updated August 2, 2008|
Finding the right lawyer can be challenging. The sheer number of attorneys to choose from, and the difficulty of assessing their merits can make the search frustrating. Following a step by step process, however, can help you find the right lawyer for you.
Where to Begin
Start by asking for recommendations from people you trust, such as friends and business colleagues. Your banker or accountant may also have recommendations. You can also look for a lawyer in a directory such this one. A good directory can help you quickly and easily zero in on lawyers in your geographic area whose expertise matches your needs. LawServer, for example, allows you to:
Once you have selected a few potential attorneys for your matter, you will move on to an initial consultation. Treat this consultation as a job interview, asking the questions that will help you decide whether the attorney is right for you. Most lawyers provide a free initial consultation, but this is not a requirement. Inquire about consultation fees when you make the appointment to avoid surprises.
Ask the Right Questions
An initial consultation may be as long as one hour or as short as fifteen minutes. It is therefore important to ask relevant questions and keep the interview focused. Present the general details of your issue, but keep it short and factual. Ask the attorney how much experience he or she has with your type of case. Ask when he last handled a similar case and what the results were. Determine his opinion of the strength of your case, but be skeptical of an attorney who assures you victory.
This is also the time to discuss fees and payment structure. Find out how often you will be billed and make sure you will receive detailed statements.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
No lawyer is right for every situation. In addition to finding someone who is an expert about your issue with a reasonable fee structure, your chosen attorney should also be someone with whom you feel comfortable. You and your lawyer may work closely together for a period of months or even years. Therefore, you must feel certain that you are on the same side and share a common outlook on the case.
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