The search to find dependable and reliable legal services is like the one you would conduct with any other service. A wise individual does plenty of due diligence before engaging in an informed decision. This starts with short listing a few law offices then continues with thoroughly researching the background and references of every lawyer on the list. Here we will consider five things to do when you are looking for legal advice.
Pursuing Lawyer Interviews
You might not be aware of the fact that you can actually interview most lawyers at no charge. The majority of them offer a free first consultation of an hour or less. Once you secure this meeting, be sure to ask the lawyer as many of the following questions as you possibly can:
- How long have they been in business?
- What real world experience does he have in your particular area of the law?
- What percentage of work load does he dedicate to dealing with your area of legal need?
- What is the lawyer’s actual track record of settlements versus wins and losses?
- Does he have malpractice insurance, and if he does, then for what amount?
- How much are his charges and how does he structure these?
- What special certifications and skills does he possess?
- Would anyone else in the office be helping with your case and at what additional charge?
- Are there other law office fees (such as filing and copy fees, postage, mailing surcharges, etc)?
- Does the lawyer outsource any of the legal work?
- What references from current and past clients will he share with you?
- How frequently will you receive a bill from his office?
- How will the two of you communicate regarding issues on the case?
- Is there a written contract for representation available?
You should remember that lawyers who assess larger fees are not necessarily better qualified to handle your case. Bargain basement prices are often signs of inexperience or financial problems for a law firm.
Query Other Attorneys
Attorneys are well aware of the reputation and abilities of their rivals. They may be willing to share some of this with you. You will not obtain this perspective on a lawyer from an online or book source. It includes things like anecdotes, competence, ethics, practice habits, demeanor and temperament, and reputation.
Review the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
You can find the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory online these days at Martindale.com, as well as in your area public library or legal libraries. This terrific resource showcases a wealth of information about the lawyers at a given law firm. Lawyers personally utilize the resource when they are looking for associates on a case in other regions.
This directory reveals solid practice profile information for most every attorney in both the U.S. and Canada as well as detailed biographical information on renowned attorneys and their law firms in over 160 nations. The resource also comes with law firm and lawyer peer-driven ratings, which are useful in making a final selection from your top two or three contenders.
Tour the Lawyer’s Law Office
Every lawyer’s office speaks volumes of them and their practice. Ask for a quick tour of their offices after meeting with them in the conference room. Ask yourself how orderly, neat, well-managed, and efficient is this office? Do the staff seem capable and friendly? How many and what type of support personnel does the attorney maintain? Is the office itself easy to access and local? Is there a significant space that remains unoccupied? Warning signs about a lawyer include unsatisfied looking staff, clutter and disorder in the office, phone calls that are not returned in a timely fashion, and vacant offices within the space.
Conduct a Background Check
You ought to talk with the appropriate disciplinary agency for lawyers in your own state before you ultimately engage a lawyer. This will allow you to confirm that they are in good standing with the state bar. Checking references is mandatory, and it is particularly important if you found the attorney at random online. Peer review ratings for attorneys are easily accessible at Martindale.com. These offer a vital and neutral review of the ethical standards and professional capabilities of any lawyer.