For most people, the act of hiring an attorney is an unusual one. We don’t all require attorneys at every step of the way, so hiring your first attorney can be stressful.
That said, our exposure to attorneys and what they do tends to be high, especially for people who watch television. Courtroom dramas are plentiful on TV and in movie theaters, so many people may think they have a good handle on what attorneys do and what they offer.
This is how myths come into the equation. It’s important to remember, when choosing an attorney for yourself, to eliminate these myths and focus on reality. Here are five myths to clear up regarding hiring an attorney.
1. Lawyers are required to do pro bono work
This is actually true, but only to a certain extent. For example, one state’s supreme court rules mandate that an attorney do at least 50 hours of pro bono work each year. However, this is completely up to the attorney. “Should” is the operating word here. There is no requirement to tackle cases pro bono. This is important to keep in mind because it’s never a good idea to assume that your attorney will take on your case for free. Assume you’ll be paying for your attorney.
2. Aggression is key
We’ve all seen the aggressive lawyer ads. Lawyers treat aggression like an essential aspect, as though being overly aggressive is very important feather in an attorney’s cap. This simply isn’t true. An attorney who is too aggressive can annoy all parties involved, from the judge to the jury to opposing counsel. This obviously isn’t a great idea, as some of these people will be left to decide the attorney’s client’s fate at the end of the trial.
3. Experience is the most important factor
It’s also important to remember that experience isn’t everything when hiring an attorney. Depending on what you need an attorney to do for you, experience may not even be that much of a factor. Your case may be an easier one, meaning decades and decades of experience aren’t necessary to win it. Keep this in mind when hunting for a lawyer.
4. Every lawyer currently practicing is ethical
Just because an attorney is in court every day doesn’t mean that he or she is necessarily ethical. Getting to the bottom of this is very simple; just ask if he or she has incurred any legal discipline for conduct in or out of the courtroom. If the answer is “yes,” consider looking elsewhere.
5. Consultations are always free
Finally, remember that simply sitting down and talking to an attorney about your case isn’t always free of charge. Even if you haven’t hired them, and the consultation is just an initial one, you may be charged for consultations. Some lawyers do provide free consultations, so if you wish to have your consultation done for free, seek these attorneys out.
There you have it, five myths to avoid accepting when hiring an attorney. Keep them in mind and remember to ask questions in order to clear them up. This will save you a great deal of time, money and stress.