When you need legal help, you want the best possible outcome and one of the best ways to do that is to hire a good lawyer. But how do you know if you’ve found one? If you’re looking to find the right lawyer to help with your legal needs, here are some factors that can help you determine if this person will be able to deliver the results you want.
Do your research
The first thing you should do when looking for a lawyer is research their reputation and experience. There are many online tools, such as Google Reviews and Avvo, that can help you make an informed decision. The more research you do, then you will have better understanding of lawyers who can serve your needs.
One of your first stops when trying to find a good lawyer should be online reviews. You can search for an attorney by location and read what people had to say about his or her services. If you see any major red flags (or even if everything looks great), go in person and check things out before signing on with someone. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Check with the state bar association
Asking your friends for personal recommendations is great, but it’s not as reliable as checking with a public agency. Look up local bar associations in your area and contact them to ask about any complaints they may have received against prospective lawyers. You can also call other local law firms and chat with their receptionists or paralegals—they often know what their colleagues are up to.
Check credentials and certifications
Before meeting with an attorney, check his or her credentials and certifications. Make sure he or she is licensed in your state. The best way to do that is visit your state’s bar association website (most states have them) and search for attorneys by name. There, you should be able to see if he or she is licensed, where they went to law school, when they were admitted into practice, etc.
There’s no better way to find out about your lawyer than talking with him directly. An important part of selecting a lawyer is getting personal references from other people who have worked with him before, so you should also ask for names of clients you can speak with directly. When speaking with previous clients, make sure you ask specific questions about their case and how it was handled; don’t just take their word for it that everything went well.
Find out how long they’ve been practicing law
As with any professional, ask your lawyer how long they’ve been practicing law. An attorney who has recently graduated from law school may not have as much experience or be able to handle complex cases compared with an attorney who has years of experience. But don’t just stop there: ask about how many cases they’ve handled similar to yours and what your odds are of winning are.
Does the lawyer specialize in certain areas?
Many lawyers have an area of expertise, whether it’s real estate law or criminal defense. If you have a particular case in mind, make sure your lawyer has experience with that type of legal issue. The more specialized their practice is, generally speaking, the more expensive it will be.
What is their approach to representing clients?
Is their style tell it like it is or everyone has a right to know what’s going on with their case? An attorney may be direct and truthful, but it might not be what you want. If you prefer them to set expectations from day one, so you don’t get your hopes up for something that isn’t going to happen, ask about what approach they plan on taking during representation.
Are they keeping up with industry standards?
The legal profession is highly regulated and if you’re looking for someone who knows their stuff, it pays to find out if they’re keeping up with industry standards. Many law firms list how their lawyers are experienced on their websites, so check there. Or ask them directly—and make sure you ask which areas of law they specialise in. If they can’t give you clear answers, they may not be as efficient or knowledgeable as you need them to be.
Consider alternative options
The first thing you should do when considering hiring an attorney is figure out whether you need one. If it’s possible for you to settle your matter without legal help, it might be best not to hire an attorney at all. For instance, if you are facing a civil matter that does not involve any criminal charges, then it’s best for you to handle it on your own, as opposed to seeking out legal representation.