If you’re about to hire a lawyer, there are some things you can do to help yourself make a smart decision and choose a good lawyer. Choosing a good lawyer can make all the difference in a case where the legal issues are complex or where there is potential for the case to drag on for a long time. A good lawyer will know the ins and outs of the law that will help to speed your case along and give you the best chance for a positive outcome.
The first factor to consider when choosing a lawyer is what kind of case they have expertise and experience in. Many people falsely assume that any lawyer knows about all kinds of legal issues and can handle any kind of case. The truth is, lawyers are much like doctors in that they specialize in particular kinds of cases. While some may have a general practice and be able to handle a wide range of legal matters, many of the best lawyers specialize in one or two particular areas of the law and become extremely knowledgeable in those areas. This is generally the type of lawyer you want for your case, because experience handling cases similar to yours is one of the most important factors in choosing a lawyer. As the saying goes, there is no substitute for experience.
The second factor to consider is whether this lawyer has a disciplinary history. Most states have an attorney directory and a publicly viewable disciplinary history for their lawyers. You can usually find it on the state’s supreme court website. This will show you if there have been any major issues in the lawyer’s past conduct with clients that warranted discipline. Depending on what the issue was, you may want to consider another lawyer.
Lastly, if at all possible, you should try to speak with past clients to see what their experience was like with this lawyer. Although every client has the attorney client privilege and the lawyer may not have anyone’s permission to use them as a reference, it’s still worth asking. Make sure to ask questions such as how quick they returned phone calls and e-mails, whether the attorney made a strong effort to settle the matter quickly, and whether or not the outcome obtained by the attorney was favorable.
If you keep these tips in mind when looking for an attorney, you should have a good chance of finding one that won’t disappoint you.