We sometimes face situations where we need legal assistance. Some are unexpected while others are predictable. It could be because of a business dispute, a criminal case, a divorce case, or any matter that requires a legal solution.
Whatever issues you may have, the steps you take when hiring a lawyer will generally impact the outcome of the case. That’s why it is always important to take time before choosing a lawyer to represent you.
Some people tend to think that any lawyer can handle a legal case. This is far from the truth because the law is very wide and lawyers specialize in different areas of the law.
You should therefore, seek to find a lawyer that is not only qualified in a legal issue you are facing but also has enough experience.
Here are 5 steps to help you hire an expert lawyer:
1. Ask for recommendations
This is one of the best ways of finding a good lawyer. There’s no doubt that at least one or two friends or family members have hired a lawyer at some point in their lives. Ask to find out the kind of experience they had and their general feeling about that specific lawyer.
It can even be better if you have a close friend or family member who is already practicing law. Even if they don’t specialize in a legal area that’s related to your case, they can definitely recommend you to his or her friends.
2. Conduct online research
Technology has literally put information at our fingertips. Just like when you want to purchase a product online, you first have to check on the reviews and testimonials about that particular product or service. After that you are able to decide whether to purchase it or look for it elsewhere.
The same thing applies when it comes to looking for an expert lawyer. A majority, if not all law firms have websites where they showcase their services and expertise. By visiting several websites, you will be able to know the kind of legal services they offer and what previous and existing clients are saying about them.
3. Book for a consultation
Once you are done with your search, shortlist at least three law firms and schedule consultation with each one of them. The good thing is that most attorneys will agree to hold a consultative meeting with you for free and that’s a great opportunity to learn more about the law firm.
Some of the things you need to take note of during the consultations are the type of legal services being offered and their charges. You should also pay close attention to their customer service experience.
For example, how do they respond to calls? Do they handle clients with courtesy? How long do they take to respond to queries?
4. Ask the right questions
Before you go out to meet with a lawyer, it is important to have a list of questions written down. This will ensure that you fully utilize the consultation moment and find out everything you need to know about the lawyer and his or her services.
Some of the questions to ask to include the following:
- What type of cases do you specialize in?
- For how long have you been practicing?
- How much are you going to charge for my case?
- Will you be the one handling my case or someone else?
- How many times have you appeared in court to represent cases?
Look for a lawyer who is free and willing to answer questions honestly and without hesitation. A lawyer that refuses to answer some of your questions suggests they are hiding something.
5. Assess the costs and review payment arrangements
While it won’t be a good idea to hire a lawyer based on cost alone, the fees you will be charged matter. Ask your lawyer to vividly explain his or her fees and issue you with a written summary.
The next step after that is to review all the payments and agree on how they will be made. There are a number of ways a lawyer can bill your case including a flat fee, consistency fee, a retainer fee, or an hourly rate.
It is vital to understand how your lawyer bills to help you know how much exactly to pay.
About the Author:
Kim Hemphry is a passionate expert in the areas of Legal Matters, learning and education. She has been featured on over 50 leading Legal and education sites and is a modern thought leader in the field. More about her interests and articles on her site – http://kimhemphry.com/