No one really wants to hire an attorney. Even the idea of dealing with the legal system often leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. The truth is, having the right attorney can be the difference between a relatively pain-free process and one that can take a massive toll on your life. Whether you are looking for a defense attorney or just someone to handle your will, the following tips can help you weed out the lackluster attorneys and find the one who can best meet your needs.
Check Referral Sites
Thanks to the Internet, finding a good attorney is easier than it has ever been. A number of different websites give you information about everything from what type of law an attorney practices to whether or not that particular individual has been reprimanded by a bar association. What really makes these sites valuable is that they allow you to search for attorneys based on your needs by searching things like practice specialties, cost, and geographic area.
Consult the State Bar
Referral sites provide a great place to start your search, but they shouldn’t be the end of your efforts. Once you have the names of a few attorneys or law firms in your hand, start checking other resources to learn more. The bar association for your state will have all of the information about a lawyer that is publicly available. This will include everything from disciplinary actions to license verification and more.
The Important Questions
Sometimes a law firm advertises the success of its top lawyers, but then assigns your case to a paralegal or junior member of the firm. Before you sign on the dotted line, Consumer Reports suggests that you ask who will be handling your case and who your contact person in the firm will be. Make sure that you get this information in writing.
Other questions you should ask revolved around fees, what expenses you are responsible for, how billing will be kept up to date, whether advanced payments are required, and how your attorney plans to keep you informed about the progress of your case. Be sure to ask about getting in touch with your attorney for emergencies that may occur after hours or while your lawyer is in court and unable to respond.
Law firms, like Dummit-Fradin in Winston-Salem, often advertise the quality of their services on their websites. Check to see not only what their specialties are, but how invested in them the firm really is. For instance, find out if the firm simply attends seminars on family law matters or if it hosts and teaches at those seminars. Is the firm or attorney well-respected by other legal experts? What is their success rate with cases like yours? Finding answers to some of these questions may be difficult, but remember that you are free to question the lawyer you are considering hiring to any degree you like. They are trying to sell you a service, so they should be willing to go out of their way to provide you with information about the work that they do.
Once you’ve hired an attorney, you can still change your mind. If you aren’t happy with the service, talk to your lawyer to see if you can reach an understanding. If you can’t, you can rid yourself of your lawyer and hire another. Any attorney that you fire is legally obligated to provide your file to your new counsel, but the process can be time consuming and expensive. Even though you can fire your attorney, it is best to use the tips above to choose well from the beginning.