At some point in your life, you might have to find and hire a lawyer to guide you through the legal process and/or in court. If you never worked with a lawyer before, it can be intimidating to go search now. There are numerous lawyers out there, how will you choose the right one? Here is a guide that can help you:
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need?
Although not all, most lawyers have their own specialties. Ideally, you want to hire someone who has experience and success in the kind of legal issue that you are currently dealing with.
For example, if you have run to serious financial trouble due to the lockdowns caused by COVID-19, you should contact a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in your area. They will give you advice and take care of the paperwork from start to finish. If you are filing for bankruptcy, you do not need a lawyer, but having one by your side will enable you to get everything available to you.
If you are facing a criminal case, you need to talk to a criminal lawyer to negotiate with the plaintiff and defend you during trials. They will also file an appeal on your behalf if necessary.
Create a List
Search for lawyers in your area. You likely will get dozens of names recommended to you by search engines. It is better to wean your options and first ask your family and friends for suggestions. Do you know someone who has experienced the same difficulties that you are facing right now? Better get the name and contact information of the lawyer who represented them. Ask them, too, about the experience they had. You can also check state bar associations for options.
You would want to meet the lawyers on your list before you finally make your choice. Some people prefer phone calls so they can go through as many names on their list as quickly as possible. The point of the initial consultation is to see if you will feel comfortable working with the lawyer. It is also the lawyer’s chance to pitch the strategies they will employ to get the results that you are aiming for.
Most initial consultations are free. Make the most of it and get to know the names on your list. If you do not feel good after the initial consultation, cross the name off of the list and move on to the next one.
Questions to Ask During Initial Consultation
The first thing you have to know is the lawyer’s fee. At the end of the day, your pick will depend on how much you can spend. Try to get an estimate of the total amount you will spend throughout the case. Some lawyers do pro bono work, so you may get legal representation even if you cannot pay the full bill.
Next, ask if they have handled a similar case before and whether they have succeeded. Obviously, you would want a lawyer who knows what they are doing. Ask, too, what they expect the outcome of your situation will be. You should check if the lawyer has been disciplined or sanctioned for violating the rules in the past.
Once you are done with the initial consultation, it is time to make your choice. Go with the lawyer who you feel comfortable with, who has experience working on a similar case, and whose fees fall somewhere in your price range.