There are various reasons you may need to hire an attorney one day. Maybe you’ve been accused of a crime and need someone to defend you. Perhaps you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, and you thus believe you might be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and related losses. Maybe you simply have a great idea for a product and need a lawyer’s help to get a patent.
Regardless, you likely understand that not all lawyers are equally experienced and talented. Additionally, the right lawyer to serve one client’s needs may not necessarily be the right lawyer for you.
If you’re a wise consumer, you research businesses before deciding to work with them. You should do the same when hiring a lawyer. Instead of hiring the first attorney you come across, take the time to look for one who is most equipped to provide you with the quality of service you deserve. The following tips and dolmanlaw.com will help.
1. Consider Their Practice Areas
There are many different types of lawyers. You probably know this. Thus, you probably know that you must work with the type of lawyer who handles cases similar to your own. An environmental lawyer will be of little help to you if you’ve been accused of a crime.
However, it’s also important to understand that even two lawyers who are generally the same “type” of attorney might nevertheless specialize in different practice areas. For example, perhaps you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney. Most criminal defense lawyers don’t handle all cases involving all crimes of which someone may be accused.
One criminal defense attorney may focus on such crimes as DUIs and drug crimes. Another might be more qualified to handle the complexities of a white collar crime case.
It’s not enough to simply hire a lawyer who generally operates in the area of the law that applies to your case. Look for one whose specific practice areas align with your needs.
2. Ask About Past Experience
This point is an extension of the one above. To confirm an attorney has relevant experience, when consulting with them, ask if they can describe examples of cases similar to yours that they’ve handled in the past. Ideally, they’ll be able to discuss instances in which they successfully helped a client achieve an ideal outcome.
They may not be able to provide too much specific detail if doing so would violate attorney-client privilege, but they might be able to provide a reasonable degree of information about how they’ve helped clients like yourself before.
This is also an opportunity to ask if they can provide testimonials from past clients. After all, many attorneys will claim they are qualified to handle your case. That doesn’t mean they’re all being as truthful as they should. An attorney who actually delivers results for their clients instead of simply making vague promises will be able to supply you with testimonials indicating they’re honestly representing themselves and their abilities during your initial discussions.
3. Check for Independent Reviews
Asking any attorney you’re considering hiring if they can provide testimonials from former clients is absolutely a good idea. That said, you do have to consider the possibility that an attorney is inconsistent. Perhaps they’re able to provide some positive testimonials because on occasion they genuinely manage to satisfy their clients.
Those occasions could be outliers. In virtually every line of work, there are professionals who may not be consistently great at their jobs, but every now and then succeed.
With that in mind, it’s also a good idea to check independent platforms such as Avvo and Yelp! for reviews of attorneys you might hire. Lawyers can’t exercise much control over what past clients write about them via these platforms. As such, you’re more likely to find honest and straightforward reviews on them.
4. Ask for Referrals
This isn’t necessarily a tip that everyone will be able to apply. That said, if you genuinely know someone who has been in a legal situation similar to yours before, and you’re confident they were satisfied with the outcome of their case, you can ask them to refer an attorney. This may be a simple way to find a lawyer fast.
Just keep in mind that you should still do your own due diligence before deciding to hire an attorney. Even if your friend or colleague enthusiastically recommends someone, you may nevertheless want to research an attorney, read reviews, and, of course, meet with them for an initial consultation.
5. Pay Attention to Your Feelings
Your intuition and personal feelings certainly aren’t the only factors to account for when deciding whether or not to hire a particular attorney. It’s possible to meet a lawyer who is absolutely qualified to handle your case but isn’t necessarily someone you always feel entirely comfortable speaking with. Sometimes people just have different personalities that impact the way they communicate with each other to an extent.
However, you ideally want to feel at least moderately comfortable when speaking with an attorney before hiring them. There are several reasons this is the case.
First, a lawyer will be better able to serve your needs if you’re honest with them during all discussions about your case. You may feel more inclined to be open and honest if you feel comfortable speaking with them at all times.
Additionally, whether you do or don’t feel comfortable speaking with a lawyer can say something about whether they will actually offer reliable service. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with a particular lawyer, ask yourself why.
Maybe your discomfort stems from the fact that you don’t think your attorney is treating you with the necessary degree of care and attention. Perhaps you feel they’re rushing through their discussions with you and not taking their time to thoroughly and adequately explain your case.
That’s just one example. The main point to remember is that your personal feelings about an attorney can somewhat influence your decision to hire them or not hire them.
It can’t be stressed enough: You must carefully review your options when choosing a lawyer. Doing so can play a critical role in your future.