Choosing the right lawyer is arguably the most important step towards the successful resolution of your case. Lawyers have different specialties, therefore it is important to find a lawyer that is best suited to handle your case. The following are important tips to consider when choosing the right lawyer:
1. Do not rely on the word of mouth too much
One of the easiest ways to find a lawyer is to ask for recommendations from friends and family. However, this is not always the smartest thing to do. You shouldn’t rely too much on just what people say about a particular attorney. A friend could have told you that a particular attorney is excellent, but that could be because the friend had a different legal need which the said attorney successfully litigated. If the lawyer the friend used was, say, a criminal lawyer, that lawyer might be out of his depth when handling a civil matter. Therefore, inasmuch as seeking recommendations is a good thing to do, it is not wise to over-rely solely on what you hear.
2. Find objective information
Virtually every practice area has a bar association or a body that brings lawyers together. Therefore, if you need a lawyer to handle a particular matter, then it will be wise to check with the relevant body. If you come from Chicago, for example, you can look up in the Chicago Bar Association when in need of an immigration attorney, if immigration is your problem.
3. Create a shortlist of lawyers
By surveying lawyer referral websites, third-party websites and bar associations you will get a whole lot of lawyers who are all probably relevant. But you will need to pick only one attorney from amongst them. It is then imperative that you come up with a shortlist of competent attorneys, and continue narrowing down until you find the most competent of them all.
There are a number of things you will look at when screening your prospective attorney. For example, you should look at the following:
–The biographical information about the lawyer. Ascertain whether the biographical information shows the lawyer to possess expertise in the particular area of law you need help.
— Find articles, informational pieces or papers the lawyer has written.
–Ask people in the neighborhood whether they have heard about the lawyer and their opinion about the lawyer.
–Scour online archives of your local paper to see if there has been publicity about the lawyer- be it good or bad.
–Check the lawyer’s professional body to find out if they have been punished in any way and for what.
Your short list should come to two or three names. Reach out to each of the attorneys in your short list and schedule a one-on-one consultation.
4. Visit your prospective lawyer for a one-on-one consultation
The importance of scheduling a one-on-one consultation with the prospective attorneys is to find out who among them listens well; who among them understands your issue; and who gives you confidence that your legal problem will get a resolution in a cost-effective way.
5. Lawyer fee
Before hiring the lawyer, ask for a copy of their retainer agreement and review it with them. Sometimes the lawyer may be willing to negotiate the billing arrangement.
After doing all of the above, you now have an idea of who the best lawyer among them is. Ideally, the best lawyer is one who inspires confidence that your case is in the best hands and charges a reasonable fee.