Most people, fortunately, do not need an attorney’s assistance very many times during their life. Therefore, it can be challenging to home in on the right lawyer when one is needed. Add in the fact that emotions likely are running high, and choosing a legal professional becomes a daunting task. But if you can focus on the task at hand and do a little research before hiring anyone, finding the right fit for your needs can be easier. Let’s take a look at some screening tools you can use to narrow the candidate pool.
They Are Professional
Professionalism is key in the legal field. You want an attorney who has a proper office, a staff and access to the necessary legal resources to adequately address your case. Candidates should act and dress in a professional manner as well. Basically, if you meet the attorney and don’t feel confident in his or her abilities, it is best to keep looking.
They are Specialized
You will be best equipped to find the right attorney if you do some research first to learn what type of legal specialty is required. Then you can target just the lawyers who are experienced in the performing the field of law you need. If you just need general legal counsel, use the other traits on this list to find the best options.
They Communicate Clearly
Lawyers deal in complicated terms and documents. You want to hire one who can explain pertinent legal concepts to you in a way you can understand. Lawyer candidates should allow you to make legal decisions yourself based on these explanations, and they should respond quickly to all your inquiries.
They Are Up Front About Fees
Legal services are expensive, so you don’t want to waste any money because you didn’t understand the fee structure. Many attorneys offer short consultations for free so you can discover whether they are a good match for your case. If you decide to move forward, candidates should be able to clearly list the fee structure and schedule, including retainers, hourly billing and disbursement after the case is settled or closed. If you feel uncomfortable about any part of the plan, you might want to interview a different lawyer.
They Are Honest
Your attorney has to be in your corner at all times. If you get the feeling during preliminary conversations that an attorney is not being honest with you or is more focused on your case’s monetary value than with your well-being, you should walk away. Having confidence in your attorney’s abilities and honesty is crucial to a successful outcome.
They Have Strong Organizational Skills
Because time is money when you are talking to a lawyer, it is vital that he or she is organized and prepared with the proper documents whenever you meet. If candidates seem to waste your time during preliminary conversations, it is unlikely to improve if they take your case. You want an attorney who will be proactive, timely and communicative about any developments in your case.
Former Clients Will Vouch for Them
Finally, getting recommendations can be extremely helpful. Ask friends or family members if they have worked with any attorneys they believed did a good job. When you have narrowed your list to a few candidates, ask if you can talk to a former client about how the process went or ask to see testimonials from clients. If a lawyer doesn’t gather reviews or can’t offer you any names, it is best to find a different attorney.
Reaching a successful legal outcome hinges on a strong client-attorney relationship. These tips should help you find the best fit for your specific needs.