There are several factors to consider when you need a lawyer. This is a search that must be carried out without rushing. Often, the process can be as involved and require the same background searching as hiring a contractor or finding a good school for your children.
This is because the right attorney will protect you and defend your interests better than a general practitioner. It is about finding a lawyer with integrity so you can trust them with confidential information. It is about finding the right specialist for the specific type of case you have. The right lawyer will not only be able to protect your interests, but they will also be able to advise you and guide you towards a place where this sort of situation will not arise again.
Thus, finding the right lawyer for your needs to be a priority. High fees and prestigious firms are not always an indicator that the lawyers therein will be the right ones for you. You must interview them yourself and see if there is a rapport. You want someone professional but dedicated to excellence.
What Sort of Assistance Do You Need?
Are you looking for a lawyer to help you settle a dispute right now or a lawyer you can put on retainer for a long time? This can help to narrow down the amount of searching you need to do. If you have an adequate in-house lawyer and only want a specialist for one situation, you can get a short-term hire or even settle the matter with a few consultations. Determining exactly what you need from the lawyer will inform the length of your search process and how detailed the information you must find out about the attorney.
Narrowing Down the Field
We have already discussed the difference between specialists and general practitioners. But this can be broken down further. Do you want a lawyer who focuses on one specific type of case? Do you want a lawyer who focuses on cases that fall under the same theme? These questions can help you to better understand the situation you are in as well.
A business lawyer is great for drawing up partnership contracts, but a business litigation lawyer is better for settling disputes. A divorce lawyer can help you end your marriage amicably, while a family law practitioner is best suited to taking care of your children’s needs once the divorce is settled. Criminal lawyers can help to defend you, but a civil rights attorney may be better suited if you were targeted for a crime you did not commit. Thus, narrowing down the field is entirely about coming to a greater understanding of your exact situation.
Referrals are a Great Guide
Once you know the exact specialization of lawyer you need, you can start asking for referrals. Referrals are often the best way to narrow down a list of lawyers to interview. People will not refer someone who was not able to help them effectively. Ask for referrals from people you trust and people you know had similar situations to yours but have now settled their problems effectively.
There are referral services online which can help you to identify qualified lawyers within your area. These sites list the lawyers’ qualifications and are a good resource when no one close to you has any referrals to give you. The site’s recommendations can be a great aid to following up on the information and making a short list of lawyers to interview.
Laws and regulations differ across state lines. State and federal laws can differ as well. The right attorney for you will be qualified to handle your dispute based on the locations to which it applies.
A local lawyer will be best for a situation that needs to be handled locally. They will have the connections and network to truly understand the situation and begin the resolution process. But if you are looking for someone to help you with a business matter that crosses state lines, you need an attorney that is qualified in working out of state or with federal law disputes.
Experience and availability are critical factors as well. You will be more likely to trust in a lawyer who has handled multiple cases than one that is fresh out of law school. You also would benefit more from a lawyer who will work on your case directly rather than hand off the important portions to their assistants.
Finally, the last factor of importance is the cost of hiring a lawyer. There are several ways to pay a lawyer, from hourly fees, flat rates, contingency fees to retainers. Look into these fees to make sure that they are all-inclusive, and you will not be billed on top of them for extraneous expenses.
If you want to keep the lawyer for the long term, you need to consider the initial hiring fee and the subsequent retainer fees. Is the level of work provided by the lawyer worth the long-term costs of retaining them?
A short-term lawyer could be cheaper but can come with several high fees at the outset. They should be willing to negotiate with you and come to a payment agreement that suits both parties.