Choosing an attorney requires the same approach as when you are selecting a contractor or an accountant, you need to be wise. You will be entrusting your attorney to guide and offer legal advice when you’re in unfortunate situations, and you’ll also have to share confidential information with them.
It’s almost the same as choosing a tax lawyer because you have to consider their cost and qualification, to the location and area of law. For your sake and those of your legal situations, you need to take choosing an attorney carefully. Here are some of the considerations you should make:
- Your Needs
The first thing you should do is consider your needs before asking your family, friends, and colleagues for referrals. Consider why you need an attorney in the first place. Is it because you have a legal problem? Will a professional attorney be able to help?
Once you figure out why need an attorney, figure out if you need a short-term or long-term attorney. This is dependent on the work you want them to do for you. You may need a short-term attorney if all you need is consultation on a current legal situation. But if you are looking for a lawyer who will handle all your legal affairs then you will need a long-term attorney.
- How Highly Regarded They Are
When you hire someone to offer their expertise or perform a service, you need to make sure that they are well aware of what they are talking about. Therefore, you may be required to ask for referrals from people who have worked with the lawyer before. You can also find referral services online; they will pair you with an attorney who is best suited for your needs.
The American Bar Association is always the best place to begin your research. However, personal connections and referrals from family and friends who have worked with the lawyer before are also valuable.
- Their Area of Law
Law is a broad field of study, and therefore you find lawyers specializing in different areas of law. It’s the same as the field of medicine. There are lawyer who pursue real estate law, family, intellectual property, family, immigration, accident/injury, employment, criminal, bankruptcy, or civil rights law.
Some attorneys are open to wide range of situations. They are called general practice attorneys. General practitioners are seen more in smaller communities because there is limited legal help in that area. However, if you have a situation that is specific, stick to lawyers who are within that field.
- Size of Firm
Considering the size of their firm is crucial because it can affect your decision. Larger firms have more significant resources, are more established, but they also tend to be more expensive. Smaller firms on the other hand, are less costly and more personalized. They may also offer limited services mainly if they don’t specialize in your area of need.
- Billing and Cost
When it comes down to narrowing down your options and settling for a lawyer, cost becomes the defining factor. Before asking for a quote from your attorney, ask beforehand how they bill their clients. It could be a flat rate, an hourly fee, a negotiable fee, a contingency fee, or a retainer for future fees, whatever it is the choice is up to you.