What to look for when hiring a lawyer?

What to look for when hiring a lawyer?

18-03-2020

It is not every day that you will need a lawyer but, in the event, that you will, you should know what to look for when hiring a lawyer.

Businessmen regularly need the services of a lawyer (to review contracts, to negotiate deals, etc.).  Typically, however, most individuals only need the services of a lawyer when they are having some kind of a serious legal issue such as the divorce, injury claim, labor matters and crimes.

Many lawyers are visible on the Internet and this makes choosing the right lawyer so much easier.   Choosing the right lawyer helps towards making your legal issue smooth and successful. On the other hand, choosing the wrong lawyer for your matter can have devastating effects.

There are many lawyers in the market and choosing the right one can be a tedious task. Here are some of the major things to look for when a hiring a lawyer:

Expertise

There are general practice lawyers who do almost anything (file bankruptcies for people, draft contracts, defend criminals, probate estates, and almost everything concerning legal issues). These lawyers usually practice in small communities that do not have the market for specialized areas of law.

When your case calls for a greater level of expertise, general practice lawyers will often refer you to a lawyer that specializes in that area of law. A lawyer with that specializes in a specific field of law is an expert in specific cases and clearly are the most obvious choice.

Lawyers who specialize in specific areas of law are often affiliated with professional organizations that address a specific area of law.  Lawyers with memberships in professional organizations of their areas of law specialization, enjoy opportunities to have professional contact, and attend seminars, that can improve their ability to represent clients.

Lawyers would include this in their websites, detailing their areas of law specialization so as to let prospective clients know what they do.

Experience

Every lawyer starts without having any experience except during their apprenticeship while still in law school. There are many talented and bright lawyers and experience will make them successful in their chosen career.

A new lawyer typically starts handling simple cases and usually under the supervision of an experienced lawyer. After years of experience new lawyers are able to gather enough experience to work on more complex cases. The law firm for which they work usually highlights their experiences on the law firm’s website, and this will invariable attract more clients.

It is normal for new lawyers to fumble and make mistakes but through the years of law practice they learn things not taught in law school including:

  • Cross-examining of witnesses

  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters or other lawyers

  • Assembling a sympathetic jury

  • Delivering effective arguments in court

  • Persuading judges to make decisions favoring a client

As lawyers gain experience, they acquire these skills, and become more confident in the dispensing of their duties and responsibilities to clients.

Integrity

All lawyers must have a high standard of integrity and honesty; but of course, you cannot discount the fact that there are some whose codes of conduct and professionalism are highly questionable. Lawyers need to be aggressive and tough but they need these skills to better represent their clients.

Lawyers have the highest of honor codes – this means that they do not cheat or do anything underhanded – partly because it would be unthinkable to them, and partly because they need their referrals for a steady stream of new clients. No amount of prestigious work done by professional website creators can keep a law firm’s website on top of search engine result pages to compensate for a lawyer without his integrity intact.

The best accolade a lawyer can get from a client is, “They are lawyers you can completely trust.”

Reputation

Lawyers know that their career depends on their reputation. They are judged – often harshly - not only by their clients but by judges and their peers. After years of law practice, lawyers develop their reputation. A lawyer with a reputation for excellence is always a good choice. That is if they can still accommodate you, because of the long queue of clients waiting at their door.

Your friends and family will only refer lawyers with a good reputation with whom they were happy about the legal services they received from that lawyer and, consequently, they are proud to refer him, and his law firm, to you.

A lawyer’s reputation can be built through positive reviews, feedback, and recommendations. Look for a lawyer with a good reputation on the Internet. These are highlighted on their websites by testimonials from current and ex clients and re easy to find.

Success Rates

It is always best to work with lawyers who have a proven track record of success. This will give you the peace of mind that the lawyer will also strive their hardest to obtain success for your case.  These successful cases are often highlighted on that particular law firm’s website.

Rapport

You will be spending a lot of time with your lawyer. You should therefore like your lawyer and be comfortable with them so you can work hand in hand to ensure the success of your case. It can be extremely difficult to work long hours with someone you dislike.

There needs to be teamwork between a lawyer and client. You need to be able to effectively communicate with your lawyer to achieve your goals. Your lawyer will also tell you if the goals you are hoping for are achievable.

Good rapport between you and your lawyer entails understanding and respect. When interviewing prospective lawyers, be observant so you can tell which of the lawyers you can have good rapport with.

Compassion

A lawyer needs to be objective. They should not allow their emotions to get the better of them as they need to make logical decisions. Good lawyers however need to care about the welfare of their clients and place their clients’ interest above everything else.

A good lawyer is a good listener. They make it clear that they understand your concerns and feel your pain. They however cannot get too emotionally attached to you because it can affect their professional judgment.

Open Lines of Communication

Some cases take long to be resolved thus you will need to be working with your lawyer for months or even years. Choose a lawyer that returns your phone calls and answers your emails. While your case may be part of their day’s work, your lawyer should understand that it is important to you.

You can test the manner by which your prospective lawyer communicates by sending them an email of some additional questions after your initial meeting and observe how soon they reply.

Some lawyers have chat boxes on their websites making communication easier. Try using the chat box and observe how fast you get a reply. Some lawyers charge for their time and therefore they may respond quickly but there will be a fee for this.

If it takes days for your lawyer to reply, they either may be too busy to respond immediately; need time to check on the accuracy of the answers you’ve asked for; or are delaying sending you a short message – for which you will be charged – until they have more answers for you, in order to make their response a worthwhile payment for you.  A lawyer with a fast response time is important; however, clearly the decision for the right lawyer for you will not be entirely based on their response time. That is just one very small facet on your checklist.

Lives within the Area

It is best to hire a lawyer who practices in the area your legal problem is taking place. Some lawyers can only practice in one state and other lawyers can practice in several states. A lawyer that practices in your state is a better choice.

A lawyer with an office in your area will make your life for the duration of the case so much easier. It is not a requirement though, but it will be extremely convenient.

Type in the keywords “lawyers near me” on the Goggle search box and find a list of lawyers in your area. Lawyers’ websites with the help of experts always use these keywords so the Google process can easily give them a top spot on search results pages.

The Right Fit

We’ve established that you require a lawyer who understands you and your case; also, that they must have all the qualities mentioned above. He should have quite a professional impact on you. More importantly, he should have your trust. You deserve a lawyer that can win your case and with the best possible outcome.

Start your search now and find a lawyer for your matter who you feel is a good fit. At the end of the day all the investigation work you’ve done will help – but your final decision comes from within and our sixth sense or gut feel or instinct will tell you the truth of the matter.

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