We all hope we never have a reason to set foot inside a courtroom. Unfortunately it is often beyond our control when we find ourselves in such a situation. If you require the services of an attorney, it is good to be prepared beforehand. Unfortunately, most people will not be prepared ahead of time, and panic can lead to bad decisions.
This guide aims to address that issue by providing a simple, streamlined path to identifying the right kind of attorney for your case, and how to establish whether a given firm or individual is right for your needs.
The first thing to establish is what specialty your case requires. For example, if you were injured on someone else’s property due to negligence, you need a personal injury attorney. For help settling a business dispute then you may need a business lawyer or a litigation attorney.
Finding the right specialty these days is usually a case of doing a Google search and looking for keywords relative to your situation. If you aren’t having any luck identifying the kind of lawyer you need, then approach one who seems closest to your needs, if they aren’t right for you they can normally put you in touch with someone who is.
Interviewing A Lawyer
After identifying the relevant field, begin the process of interviewing lawyers to establish their suitability. The first thing to ask is whether they are willing to offer a free consultation. Most attorneys offer a consultation session free of charge, to determine if they can help you. Some will always charge for their time, regardless of circumstances, so ask up front. This is a decision for the individual lawyer and it is up to you to be prepared, so you don’t waste their time.
The next thing to ask is if they would be happy to provide you with references. References from previous clients are the most efficient and effective way of assessing the suitability of a potential attorney. Thanks to the internet, you should already have discovered some unsolicited references, so be sure to check them all, including any negatives. Lawyers should provide you with references although they may need to seek permission of previous clients before they can give their information out.
It is important to establish upfront the attorney’s fee structure, and you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Some attorneys will operate on a no-win no-fee basis, this means that if you lose the case they won’t charge you for their time, if you win they will take their payment out of the settlement.
If you think the attorney is perfect for you but you can’t afford their proposed fee structure ask if there is any flexibility. They may be willing to negotiate with you.
Finding the right lawyer is a key aspect of making the experience of legal issues or going through litigation manageable. Without the right attorney that you have confidence in, it can be a very difficult experience.