Can you imagine being wrongfully convicted?
A total of 2,659 exonerations have taken place in the United States since 1989. Innocent men and women, who cumulatively lost over 23,770 years of life behind bars. Whatever type of legal situation you’re dealing with, if you want the courts to rule in your favor, you’ll need a quality attorney at your side.
However, with so many different lawyers out there, it can be tricky picking an attorney that’s right for your case. To help you make the right choice, this article will review the most important things to look for in a lawyer.
Read on to learn about the top 5 factors you should consider when hiring a lawyer.
1. What Do They Specialize In?
First, when it comes to picking an attorney, you’ll need to find one that specializes in whatever services you need. Here’s a shortlist of the different type of lawyer specializations:
- Estate planning lawyer
- Criminal lawyer
- Employment lawyer
- Bankruptcy lawyer
- Personal injury lawyer
- Intellectual property lawyer
It’s perfectly okay for your lawyer to handle different types of cases. However, you should look for a lawyer who’s main focus relates to the services you’ll need.
2. What Is Their Experience With Cases?
After you find the right type of lawyer that specializes in what you need, the next thing to look at is their experience. We believe that experience is hands down one of the most important deciding factors when you’re picking an attorney.
However, simply finding out that your lawyer has 20 years of experience isn’t enough. You’ll need to dig a little deeper to find out what their case history looks like.
Relevant Case History
Does the majority of their experience align with what you need? If yes, do they have a good track record for winning their cases? For instance, if you’re facing a shoplifting charge, you’ll want to find a lawyer who’s successfully helped someone else beat win the same type of case.
One of the best things about having an attorney with experience is that they’ll be able to anticipate problems before they arise. The added preparation will make it easier for your attorney to successfully defend any arguments that would stand in the way of you and your settlement award.
Another reason to choose a seasoned lawyer is that they can begin protecting your rights before you even file a lawsuit! For instance, oftentimes personal injury victims are clueless as to how to deal with insurance companies.
3. Picking an Attorney Using References and Reviews
References and reviews are a wonderful way to get a sneak peek of what working with a specific lawyer will be like. If you can speak to a former client, you’ll be able to get a really good idea of what it’ll be like working with the lawyer you’re considering.
To find a former client, talk to friends, family members, and co-workers. Ask them if they know any good lawyers that specialize in the services you need. Whenever possible, have an in-depth conversation with the person referring to the lawyers.
During the conversation, ask about what it was like working with the lawyer. Instead of simply finding out if the lawyer won their case, dig a little deeper to find out how long it took.
Tips for Reading Online Reviews
If you’re not able to find a personal reference, you can also search for reviews online. Is the lawyer you’re considering operating with a large law firm? Go ahead and read personal online reviews for the lawyer, as well as reviews for the law firm as a whole.
If you find a couple of bad reviews, that’s nothing to worry about. It’s normal for there to be unsatisfied customers to some extent, especially when you’re dealing with legal proceedings.
However, pay attention to repeat complaints about the same problem. For instance, if multiple customers say the lawyer was hard to reach, you should consider those reviews a red flag.
Form Your Own Opinion With a Phone Call
Finally, when you’re done gathering reviews, call the attorney’s office. Notice how they treat you over the phone. The right attorney or law firm will make you feel heard as they work to earn your trust.
4. Do They Have an Efficient Law Office?
Let’s say you talk to an attorney on the phone, and you like what they have to say. The next step is to then take a tour of the attorney’s law office. Simply request a brief tour of their office that will take you beyond the waiting room.
On your tour, notice whether or not things look organized. Do you get the impression the office is running smoothly, or does everyone seem rushed and frantic? Are the staff members kind and helpful?
If the office isn’t run well, it’s likely your experience with that law office will be less than pleasant. Instead, hold out for an office that impresses you with an efficiently run operation.
5. What Does the Lawyer Charge?
Next, you’ll want to find out if the lawyer you’re considering hiring is affordable. To determine whether or not an attorney will fit within your budget, you’ll need to find out their price point for all of the different fees you’ll be facing.
Here’s a shortlist of common attorney fees:
- Consultation fees
- Contingency fees
- Flat fees
- Hourly rate
- Retainer fees
- Statutory fee
Legal fees can fluctuate depending on the type of lawyer you choose. For instance, a lawyer with decades of successful experience will most likely charge more than a brand new lawyer would.
Win Your Case
Were you able to learn at least 1 new thing today about picking an attorney? Perhaps it was news to you that experience is one of the most important deciding factors. Or were you surprised to find out that not every lawyer has the same attorney fees?
We hope our article will inspire you to take your time, as you find the perfect attorney to meet your needs. For more ways to get the things you need in life, check out the rest of this site.