Choosing an attorney can be a very stressful process, especially because this process often comes along with certain unpleasant events in life.
That said, there are a few very important things to avoid when choosing an attorney.
1. Bad reviews
In some ways, hiring a lawyer can be treated exactly like buying a water purifier: you need to read the reviews. Much like a product on Amazon.com, reading what prior users have experienced with a specific attorney is a key step. Always think twice before hiring an attorney who lacks reviews or who has an abnormal number of negative reviews. Visit the website Avvo in order to read reviews of attorneys in order to avoid the hassle of sitting down with one who isn’t worth your time.
2. Missing references
Never forget to look at an attorney’s references, and along with that, always research his or her licensing board status. Just like any professional, a lawyer can easily claim to have credentials that he or she doesn’t actually have, or that happen to be outdated. Furthermore, an attorney might leave references while hoping that you won’t ever call them. Avoid this like the plague. This is all information that is readily available. Check on the attorney’s status and don’t forget to call references. This is a person who is going to work for you, so treat the hiring process as such.
3. Focusing only on an attorney’s price
There’s a certain sticker shock that can come with the process of hiring an attorney. They can be very expensive, and this fact can lead to making a decision solely based on the price associated with an attorney. While it’s important to hire an attorney you can afford, there must be balance struck between a cheap attorney and a skilled attorney. Once you find that balance, you can choose an attorney who’s right for you both in skill and in price.
4. Ignoring hidden fees
Hidden fees are a major issue that people report with many attorneys. Once you have an attorney on retainer, fees can pop up, ones you will be obligated to pay. Read reviews and be up-front with your prospective attorney before hiring him or her. Be sure to ask if the lawyer’s office charges for copies and fax services. Also, ask about the increments of pay. Some attorneys actually charge in 15-minute increments. This is a negative because a 30-second phone call could cost you the same as a 15-minute call.
5. Ignoring your instincts
Just like when making any purchase, instincts mean a great deal. Don’t ignore them. If an attorney rubs you the wrong way, don’t hire him or her. Hire someone you are comfortable with and potentially who you enjoy being around. This will make the entire process a lot more bearable and manageable for both parties.
There you have it, the five mistakes to avoid making when you’re going through the process of hiring an attorney. Just follow your instincts, protect yourself and use common sense. Couple that with the advice in this list.