There’s more to hiring a lawyer than just calling someone who put their name on a park bench. If you’re serious about finding a legal professional who will represent your interests and get you the compensation that you deserve, here are just a few tips for making your selection.
1. Find a Specialist
While some lawyers claim to do everything, most of them devote their time to a few very specific “practice areas.” For example, one lawyer might deal with civil lawsuits while another works for a big-time company and handles their corporate affairs. One lawyer might be an expert in dog bites while another works exclusively with medical malpractice cases. Try to find an expert in your particular legal area who will know what they’re doing with your case.
2. Ask for Referrals
If you know someone who has recently required the services of a lawyer, talk to them and see if they have a recommendation for you. Even if they go in the opposite direction and warn you away from someone, you’ll be able to cross a name off your list. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking your friends, relatives and colleagues for legal referrals.
3. Start the Money Talk
It’s best to talk about financial matters as soon as you sit down with your intended lawyer. Don’t be shy, and don’t dance around the topic with vague language or obscure promises. Be direct and honest with your questions. How much do they charge an hour? Will they expect a commission if they win your case? Will you be billed for things like working lunches? What will happen if you contest any of their charges?
4. Visit Their Website
Most lawyers have a website that you can browse at your leisure. They usually include things like hours, practice areas, personal bios and testimonials from satisfied clients. You can also find information about potential lawyers through their social media accounts. For example, Tully Rinckey has a LinkedIn profile where he outlines his work history, so if you’ve been wondering whether to hire Tully Ricnkey Law, this can give you the information that you need to make a decision.
5. Look at Their Record
Speaking of work histories, these things can tell you a lot about your lawyer’s successes and failures. If they’ve handled a lot of high-profile lawsuits, they’re probably good at their job; if they can’t seem to win a case, they’re a lawyer that you’ll want to avoid. If you have any doubts about their skills, ask them directly about their win/loss ratio. A lawyer with nothing to hide should have no problem rattling off their stats.
6. Schedule a Consultation
Never hire a lawyer without meeting them face to face. Even if they look good on paper or sound polite over the phone, it’s entirely possible that you’ll meet them and realize that they aren’t the lawyer for you. It could be as simple as a personality clash or as serious as a marked difference in values. If you don’t like them, don’t hire them.
Choosing a lawyer might be one of the most important decisions that you’ll ever make, especially if a big sum of money is involved. Use these tips to make sure that you hire someone you can trust.