Finding the right lawyer for your needs may seem daunting, but if you do your research, the whole process can be a lot less intimidating than you thought. There are a vast number of situations that people can find themselves in where the expertise and experience of a lawyer will be necessary.
Here’s How to Choose the Right Lawyer
1. Compile a list
- You want to start with the names of several lawyers, with some being from personal referrals and others being ones you found yourself. A nice mix is always best. You can compile your list by asking friends, neighbors, or business associates.
2. State bar associations
- If you don’t have a list of names, your state’s bar associations are good resources for finding lawyers who practice in the field in which you require assistance. Online resources are another great source and such sources have the added benefit of offering consumer reviews. You also want to make sure that you are searching for lawyers who are accredited, or passed the bar in your state. For instance, if you live in Missouri, you would want to check out a personal injury lawyer in Missouri or whichever type of lawyer you need to represent you.
3. Prepare questions for consultation
- Once your list is compiled, you can start evaluating. A lot of firms offer a free consultation and you should take full advantage.Come with a list of questions and make sure you take notes as well. Questions to ask include:
- What are your areas of expertise?
- You want to make sure who you hire has experience in the area of law you require.
- What are your potential costs?
- Legal advice can be costly so you should know how much your lawyer charges and they should be able to give you a ballpark figure.
- Who is on your team?
- Some lawyers work alone. Others have paralegals or outsource some of their work to other lawyers. You should know who is handling your information.
- How do you communicate with your client?
- Make sure you know how to get in touch with them and what their response time is like. You should be a priority to them.
4. Make sure you are a personality fit
- You want to ask yourself if you feel at ease with your lawyer. Will you feel comfortable asking them questions and bringing up your concerns?
5. Additional research
- Once you have selected your attorney, it is a good idea to call the organization in your state that handles attorney disciplinary matters to make sure they haven’t been the subject of any disciplinary actions. This will most likely be the state bar association, but it can vary depending on where you live.