How to Hire an Attorney

Finding and hiring the right attorney is oftentimes a time consuming process. Absent a personal referral, Google lists an overwhelming number of results. There is no guarantee highly ranked law firms in the search results are suited for your needs. Many legal websites only list attorneys who pay advertising fees.

In order to better gauge prospective attorneys’ qualifications, read online reviews and review their websites to see if they practice in the area of your need. List 3-5 potential law firms who may be able to help you.

Call each lawyer to confirm whether the law firm accepts similar cases. If so, ask what experience the attorneys have with that specific area of law (i.e. contested divorce, estate litigation, etc.). For those who meet this hurdle, schedule a consultation. By going to several consultations, you will get a better feel for which attorney best suits you.

At your consultation, remember you are interviewing the attorney as much as he or she is interviewing you. Consider the following as you discuss your case:

1. Ability to Relate. During your consultation, any good attorney should empathize with your situation. If the lawyer seems distant or uncaring, consider how you will feel if he or she conducts himself or herself similarly for the duration of your case.

Honest attorneys never guarantee results because litigation matters are inherently uncertain, but they may give you their best estimate of the outcome. Think about whether the attorney is truthful about the likely outcome of your case or merely tells you what you want to hear.

2. Availability. Think about how soon you expect an attorney to return your calls or reply to your emails. Is the attorney responsive to calls or emails? How often does he or she take to respond?

3. Regular Updates. Ask the attorney how he or she actively seeks to send you updates about your case. You should receive a copy of every letter and pleading your attorney files/mails on your behalf.

A few minutes of research beforehand will save both time and money as you locate and hire the right attorney. Be mindful of these key characteristics and you will more accurately determine whether a particular attorney matches your needs.

Question: What else should a client consider before hiring an attorney? Leave a comment below.