When confronted with a legal issue, many people have to go through the process of choosing an attorney for the first time. Choosing the right attorney for the legal issue you face is an important decision. As attorneys, we understand the importance of choosing the right attorney for you and your case, and with that we provide these issues to consider when choosing an attorney:
- Experience: Perhaps the most important consideration of all when choosing an attorney, is whether the attorney has the requisite experience to advocate on the client’s behalf in the type of case the client is confronted with. The type of legal issue a client is faced with will determine the area and level of experience needed. Attorneys often choose to focus their practice on just a few (or even only one) area of practice. Before meeting with a potential attorney, a client should ask whether that attorney practices in the area they need advice or representation. Clients should not be afraid to ask a potential attorney if they have ever represented a client in a case like theirs.
- Expense: Almost all people facing a legal issue have to consider the potential benefit of being represented by an attorney with the potential expense of such representation. Clients should be upfront about their concerns about cost. A potential attorney should be honest and upfront with potential clients about their fee structure (ex. flat fee, contingent fee, or hourly fee). Clients should feel free to ask potential attorneys about their fee structure at the first meeting (or even before over email or phone).
- Personality: While finding an attorney with the requisite level of experience and at the right cost is important, it is also important to find an attorney that you are comfortable and confident with. It is important that clients feel open and willing to use their attorney-client confidentiality to give their attorney the whole story. If a client holds things back because they are uncomfortable with their attorney, it will make it difficult for an attorney to adequately represent them. In addition, a client needs to feel comfortable telling an attorney when the client disagrees with the attorney. While an attorney may make suggestions and give advice, it is ultimately up to the client when it comes to deciding on big issues like whether to settle, take a plea deal, or whether to go forward with a case at all. A client should feel comfortable telling the attorney if he or she wants to go against the attorney’s recommendations.
Attorneys are not one size fits all. It is important that clients find attorneys that have the requisite experience and desired personality, and are within their budget. As with most searches, the Internet is a great place to start. Firm websites can give you a feel for what type of attorneys may work there. Reviews from friends or even strangers online (or in person if comfortable) can also be a great source for information on a potential attorney. Meeting with an attorney is usually the best way to determine whether a client and attorney are a good match.
If you are looking for a family law attorney, a personal injury attorney, or a criminal law attorney, we would be honored if you chose to contact us.