Many individuals believe that finding a lawyer is no harder than opening the phone book or looking on the Internet and picking a name. More needs to go into this decision process, however, for the best results. When choosing an attorney, there are certain things you need to know and certain variables to consider. Following are five things to keep in mind when hiring an attorney.
When hiring an attorney, you must ask about billing practices. Some attorneys work on a retainer, where you pay a set fee and they handle specific services for that fee, regardless of the time required to complete the tasks. Numerous companies choose to go this route, especially when they only need a lawyer in certain situations, rather than full time. When working with a personal injury attorney, however, they will likely work on a contingency fee. Most personal injury lawyers only get paid when you receive money from your case. You may be asked to pay expenses related to the case, but that is the only payment the lawyer receives if you don’t win. Other attorneys work on an hourly fee, so you must be sure to ask how you will be billed for the services rendered.
Any time you are seeking a legal representative, you must ensure you feel comfortable working with him or her. The legal system isn’t known for moving in a timely manner, and you may find you will need to spend a great deal of time interacting with the attorney. If you feel comfortable, this won’t be an issue. If you don’t, however, you may find you aren’t communicating regularly and this can hurt your case.
Communication is key when it comes to legal matters. When speaking to attorneys, ask who will be your point of contact in the office. One of the biggest complaints heard by individuals is that they met with the attorney during the initial consultation and were then passed off to an employee of the firm. The method of communication isn’t as important as the amount, so you may find your attorney contacts you regularly by e-mail rather than by phone or in person. This is fine as long as you are comfortable with it.
Chain of Command
One thing many individuals fail to ask is what happens to their case if something happens to the attorney. Who will take over the case in the event of a death or disability? A reputable attorney has a plan in place if the worst does happen and will be happy to share this plan with you. If they don’t, you may wish to continue searching for a lawyer to ensure you are protected no matter what happens.
All attorneys go to law school, so you may feel that you can choose anyone and have similar results. This isn’t necessarily the case. You want an attorney who has specifically handled cases similar to yours on a regular basis. If your child has suffered trauma during labor or what is referred to as a birth injury, a medical malpractice attorney will be needed. When you are buying real estate, you want someone who handles these types of transactions on a regular basis. Keep this in mind as you go to make your selection.
Take your time when selecting an attorney. This is one process you don’t want to rush, as your future may depend on it. The attorney works for you, so you can change if you find you aren’t satisfied. Be aware that there will be consequences of doing so, nevertheless, and choose wisely the first time for great results.