5 Tips to Hire a Lawyer

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There are times when the process of hiring an attorney can become very stressful as the situation leading to needing one in the first place. You may even question whether you want to represent yourself. This article takes you through the process. With a lot of attorneys out there, how can you choose the right one? Do you choose an attorney who has invested a lot in advertising or do you do more research? What should you look for when hiring an attorney?

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1. Knowing the type of attorney you need

Law is just like medicine, it is specialized. Gone are the days when an attorney could practice every type of law. Changes in law happen quickly, and stakes are too high to risk working with an attorney who has not specialized in any type of law. This is why most attorney choose a given area of focus (lawyers are prohibited by the Washington Bar Association from using the term “specialize” when advertising their service and explaining the areas of law they practice, which is why you will notice attorney ads don’t have a focus of their practice). Be careful when you find a lawyer promising too much or offering their services in every field of law. This could be a sign that they don’t have enough skill levels in a particular area needed to handle your case, especially in areas that they have no experience in. The best approach is searching for attorneys practicing the type of law matched to your legal problems. They need to have experience in that area.

 

2. Checking out social media sites

The internet has made it easier for people to find more information about an attorney before hiring them. Social media sites allow you to shop for attorneys before you decide to contract one. Some sites you should look at include:

  1. Superlawyers
  2. Avoo
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Facebook
  5. Google+

 

The above sites will help you know the attorney’s field of practice, credentials, experience, and endorsement from former clients and colleagues.

 

3. Looking at the law firms’ websites

A website has become a must-have for law firms. The content and quality of websites vary. There are those who have substantive content while some have “puffery” content. While you can easily get swayed by the number of verdicts or settlements posted on the site, it is important to remember that each case is different and this difference alongside the skills of the lawyer is going to have a big impact on the outcome of the case. A lawyer cannot guarantee you a given outcome or a specific dollar figure on your case.

When looking at the biography of a lawyer, have a closer look at their credentials and professional activities. Are they members of professional associations? Are these associations relevant to your legal issue? Have they ever been in leadership positions in these organizations or do they just pay to become members? Have they written or lectured on areas of the law relating to your legal issue?  Are there awards they have worn because of their legal work? When an attorney is a participant in professional associations, it shows that they are well-versed in the latest techniques and trends in the field of law relating to your legal issue. They will go the extra mile to ensure you get a favorable outcome and your record in the best shape possible.

 

4. Talking to your friends

Ask your friends whether they have worked with an attorney or have attorneys as friends. If they have hired an attorney before, ask them if they were happy to work with them. Was the attorney good at communicating with them and explaining the steps of the case in an easy to understand manner? Did the attorney treat them with respect? Did the attorney work hard on their legal issue? Was the attorney experienced in the particular area of law they needed help with? Were they happy with the outcome of the case? A recommendation from a friend doesn’t mean you don’t have to research, but it is going to help you with a place to get started.

 

5. Contacting the attorney and asking questions

Law firm websites have details on how to contact them. The most common is the “web form”. You can also find email links to the attorney on some of the social media sites. There is also the option of calling and asking to speak with an attorney. While an attorney is not going to tell you the outcome or value of the case or give you legal advice without having a look at the materials relating to your case, they can answer basic questions about the area of law related to your issues. They can explain the process involved and how they handle such cases. A good attorney should explain their fee structure. Their response is going to give you an idea of whether they are the right option or not. You should meet with s couple of attorneys before making your choice.

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