Whether you are buying or selling real estate, drafting a trust or your will, filing for bankruptcy, or going through a divorce, selecting the best attorney to represent your interests is vital. You have to keep in mind that having the right attorney by your side can be the difference between the making and breaking of your case.
Majority of the lawyers offer a free of charge, first consultation. Make the most of this and use the opportunity to try and identify their behavioral traits. Some people can interpret behavioral cues and determine whether or not someone is forthcoming and honest.
See if they maintain eye contact or are not while conversing with you. If you feel that certain characteristics are red flags, you do not want to proceed further with them. Honesty is an extremely important trait in a lawyer, as they will be by your side through all the tough situations and you want someone that you rely on, to be on top of your case at all times.
Finding the right lawyer also includes seeking services that you can afford. It is not necessary that someone who charges a high fee is excellent. You need to discuss with the attorney to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Do not hesitate to have appointments with several lawyers before you choose your legal counsel. This provides you with a larger base to compare with. Also, researching for them online and in and around their workplace puts you in a better position to make the choice.
Experience matters! There might be an excellent, recent Law graduate / attorney, but they won’t necessarily be able to withstand the courtroom pressure if they haven’t been through it before.
Here is a list of questions you should typically ask the attorney on your first meeting:
- What experience do they have in your type of legal matter?
- How long have they been in practice?
- What is their success track record?
- What is the ratio of cases similar to yours, handled by them in the last year?
- Do they possess any additional certifications of special skills?
- What is their fee structure?
- Do they carry malpractice insurance? How much, if yes?
- Will anyone else be working on your case? What will be their charges?
- Are any key legal tasks outsourced?
- Apart from the lawyer fee, what other costs might be involved?
- What will be the frequency of the bills?
- Can other clients be approached for references?
- Do they have a representation agreement or a written fee agreement
- How will they get in touch when the case develops
Do not readily sign an agreement right after the first meeting. Sleep on their answers and ask yourself these questions before you can make an informed decision:
- Do the attorney’s background and experience match up with your requirements?
- Were their replies to your question courteous and prompt?
- Are you comfortable with them and what they have to offer?
- Do you have any reservations about the representation and fee agreement?
Go through the process systematically and you will find yourself aligned with the counsel best for you.