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More Info On How To Choose The Best Lawyer For Your Needs…
Whether you are getting a divorce, purchasing or selling real estate or drafting a trust or will, it is very important that you hire the best possible attorney. Keep reading to discover tips you can use to ensure that you choose the best lawyer for you.
Retaining a Reputable Attorney
Many lawyers offer an initial free consultation. Take full advantage of that. The meeting can be used to determine whether or not the attorney is forthcoming and honest. Some individuals instinctively are able to get a good sense of a person’s character within just a couple of minutes of interacting with them. There are also a couple of personality traits that could clue you in.
For instance, does the attorney look you in the eye while they are talking to you, or does the person look at the ground instead? Keep in mind, individuals who aren’t able to keep eye contact tend to not be truthful. Ask the attorney what type of cases she or he has litigated. If most of the work that the lawyer has done has involved defending society’s dregs, the attorney might bend the rules quite often.
Also discuss with the lawyer about what chance your case has to succeed or fail. If the attorney sounds overly optimistic and doesn’t go over what the risks are or doesn’t talk about the costs for your case, the person probably isn’t being totally honest with you. Keep in mind that almost every case has risks and downsides to it.
Before you enter into an official working relationship with an attorney, it is very important that you feel confident that the attorney is honest. There is nothing worse that getting into a long court battle and not having an honest lawyer working for you – especially somebody who is able and willing to honestly communicate to you what your chances of succeeding are. It would be just as troubling to discover that the lawyer who was representing you was damaging your case’s chances due to her or his questionable reputation.
Responsive and Thorough
Your initial conversation or meeting with a lawyer can also be helpful in terms of determining whether or not the person will be responsive to what your needs are and is detailed oriented. Once again, let your instincts be your guide. Make sure to ask the lawyer if it will be okay to call them to ask questions or discuss your concerns throughout the case. If the person seems to hesitate it may be an indication that you will have difficulties getting answers to your questions or conveying your thoughts once you start working together on your case.
The following are other questions you should ask:
Will I be provided with updates periodically on the status of my case by phone or in writing?
Will the lawyer be your main contact, or will a paralegal be delegated with most of the communication?
There’s nothing worse than having a lawyer who doesn’t listen to your concerns or respond to your questions. So make sure to hire a lawyer who is a good communicator.
Finding the best lawyer for you also involves discovering one whose services are affordable for you. So that is why it is important to ask about the costs during your initial meeting with an attorney. It would be terrible to discover after that fact that you were being charged per hearing, per letter or some other means that encourages the attorney to drag out your case to rack up more fees.
Also, try to get an estimate in writing on what your case is going to cost to litigate. Then try to get a contract in writing that will detail what the maximum costs will be to try your case. That can prevent any surprises in the future.
So what is considered to be a fair price? It all depends on your specific case. For example, residential real estate closing, typically cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200 whereas something more complex most likely will cost a lot more. Basic commercial transactions, like purchasing a local business, frequently range from $2,000 up to $4,000. However, if the process ends up taking long than expected, the price will be higher. For a divorce proceeding the same thing is true. If your spouse doesn’t contest, then it might be solved with just a couple of thousand dollars. However, if there is a drawn out fight, it might run you tens of thousands of dollars to get your divorce settled.
A majority of lawyers who try to avoid disagreeing with their clients insist on a contracting being signed at the outset by both parties. If a contract isn’t offered by your attorney, be sure you get something in writing. It is preferable for it to be on the lawyer’s letterhead and state maximum and likely charges.
Look For An Experienced Attorney
Although it is very important to have a lawyer you can trust, it’s also just as important that the attorney have extensive experience working in the area of law that you need services for. For drafting a will, you should work with a lawyer who has estate planning experience, a divorce lawyer for drafting divorce papers, and if you need to be defended in a criminal case then you need an experienced trial lawyer. General practitioners are fine for basic real estate transactions and other non-complex issues, however, their lack of experience and detailed knowledge in a certain area of law could be harmful for your case.
Size of Law Firm
There can be certain advantages to hiring an attorney from a small firm. Usually you will receive prompt and personalized attention. The attorney who is representing you will also probably have a good deal of time for dedicating to your case. At a large firm that might not always be true, since lawyer often have to juggle many different cases and have lots of responsibilities to their firm and the partners that might take their attention away from what your needs are.
However, there are also advantages to large firm. Many opposing attorneys and judges fear and/or respect reputable large firms due to all the cases they have won as well as their ability in influencing judgments. In addition, large firms have a tendency to have more resources in terms of manpower and money for crafting strategy and researching your case.
So be sure to weigh both the pros and cons of working with a large or small firm on your case prior to signing a contract with a firm.
Other Places To Search For An Attorney
You can ask friends and family for recommendations as well as look in the phone book to search for a lawyer. There are also several for sources to look for a qualified attorney who can represent you. Representation is offered by unions in addition to the AARP (at a discount sometimes to its members). Members of the military frequently are entitled to representation, as well as certain people who are covered by home and umbrella insurance policies. The American Bar Association might also be able to assist you with locating a reputable attorney who is licensed with your state.
How Do You Choose A Good Lawyer?
Most people fail to choose a good lawyer to represent them in a court of law. That’s because they are unaware of the important steps involved in choosing a good lawyer on the market. In fact, legal services are similar to any other product or service in the market. The wise consumer should conduct thorough research before making his/her final decision on the best candidate for the project. Once you secure 4-5 referrals who are experts in the relevant field, you should carefully research each candidate before picking the best lawyer for the job. Here are five steps that help you pick the best lawyer to fulfill your legal requirements.
1. Conduct personal interviews with each shortlisted candidate:
Most lawyers offer an initial consultation free of charge. You should take advantage of this 30 minutes or one hour to ask a few important questions from the potential candidate.
Here are some of the most important questions to ask the lawyer:
- Is the lawyer proficient in handling your type of case?
- How long has he/she been in practice?
- What percentage of the caseload is dedicated to handling your type of cases and what is his/her track record?
- What is the structure of his/her fees?
- Does the attorney carry malpractice insurance? What’s the limit of the coverage?
- Who else would be working with the attorney and what are their ratings?
- Are there any additional charges? How often would you be billed?
- Can the attorney provide personal references in the area so that you can check them out?
- How will the potential attorney inform you of the latest developments in your case?
You should keep in mind that a higher fee doesn’t necessarily represent a higher quality service at all times. Also, a rock bottom fee should be looked at with caution. It may indicate incompetence or inexperience most of the time.
Once you finish the interview with the potential candidate, you should be asking yourself the following questions:
- Are the attorney’s competence and experience compatible with your unique legal requirements?
- Is he/she courteous and prompt in responding to your questions?
- Are you comfortable with working with such an attorney?
- Are you comfortable with his/her fees and how it is structured?
- Are you comfortable with the terms and conditions of the agreement?
2. Consult the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory:
This is a great resource where you can find reputed law firms and its lawyers. It can be accessed online at Martindale.Com or your local law library. In fact, lawyers themselves use this guide to find attorneys in another jurisdiction. This guide includes basically every lawyer in the United States and Canada as well as law firms in more than 160 countries in the world. The resource includes law firm ratings and peer reviews which can help you choose a good lawyer without any problem.
3. Ask other attorneys in the are for recommendations:
Attorneys are able to offer recommendations about a fellow lawyer in the area. You can find a good lawyer by approaching your current lawyer.
4. Checking the background of the potential candidate:
Consult the bar association in your area to find out more information about the potential candidate. The bar association or disciplinary agency in your state is the best place to confirm that the potential candidate has a good standing as a member of the bar. You should check references if you have found the potential candidate through an Internet search. The lawyer’s peer review rating is accessible at Martindale.com. This rating will give you an objective indicator of the attorney’s ethical standards as well as professional abilities. These evaluations are generated by other members of the bar as well as the judiciary in the U.S. and Canada.
5. Tour the law office of the potential attorney:
You should request a brief tour of the law office of the potential attorney. It will tell you a lot about the candidate. Is it efficiently run and neat? How about the support staff in the office? Are they helpful and friendly? Is the office local and easily accessible? Mass disarray, empty office, unanswered phone calls, and unhappy staff members indicate red flags. In fact, you should avoid picking such an attorney to handle your case.
These are five important steps that you can use to find a reputed and experienced lawyer to handle your case in a court of law. Make sure you follow these instructions when picking the right attorney in the area.