The process of hiring an attorney is often not very pleasant. It depends on your situation, but the process is often fraught with emotions and negative circumstances.
It’s important to remember that the right attorney can absolutely make whatever legal matters you are going through a great deal easier on you and your family. The most important step here is to hire the right attorney so that he or she gets the job done in the most efficient, cost-effective and legally effective manner possible.
In order to accomplish this, however, you must consider five essential things before hiring an attorney.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of research. Contact the state bar association and see if the attorney in question is in good standing. Check for violations, and make sure you check in with the state’s board of professional responsibility or the state bar association. Also, check and see if the attorney in question has legal troubles of his or her own. Surprisingly, a good starting point is to simply Google the attorney’s name and see where that takes you.
If you can’t afford an attorney, then you can’t afford an attorney. It’s about as simple as that. Cost will almost always be a factor. Check and see what kinds of fees are charged by the attorney you are researching. How much does each individual service cost? Will you be billed for phone calls? Is the attorney known for unfairly charging clients? Are the fees hourly or flat? Ask all of these questions to avoid billing surprises down the road.
Contact former and current clients of the attorney in question to see if their experience was a positive one. Make sure the attorney is easy to reach, and ensure that each person you contact would use the attorney again if the need arose. Also, ask if the fees charged were fair. And, obviously, ask about the outcome of the case? Did the attorney win it? References can provide a valuable look into just how an attorney does business and how good he or she is at it.
This is where specialty comes into the picture. Many lawyers tout certain specialties, and one of these might be the right choice for you if your case falls under one speciality or another. Some are good with auto accident cases, for example. Others have expertise in other areas. Ask these questions and figure out if the lawyer in question has a specialty you may be able to utilize.
An appeal is always a possibility, but it’s an important step to ask if the lawyer you’re researching handles appeals. Also, ask if an appeal is even a likelihood or a possibility in your particular case. Ask about the timing of an appeal. It’s always better to have your attorney follow through on a case through the appeals process rather than hiring a new attorney.
Hiring an attorney can be stressful, but following these five steps can go a long way toward mitigating that stress. Just be smart about the process and make sure you hire the right person. This will make the entire process go more smoothly and will allow you to get back to your life.