Hiring an Attorney

If you have a legal issue that you need to address, like starting a business or clearing up a debt, hiring an attorney can help. There are many ways to find a good lawyer, including asking friends and family for recommendations, consulting print or online directories and contacting local bar associations for referrals.


During your interview with an attorney, ask about their experience and background. You can find much of this information on their website. Then, look at their reputation by searching for reviews online from past clients. The Better Business Bureau can also provide feedback on an attorney’s professional reputation.

Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for attorneys. They must be able to explain complex legal concepts in simple terms to their clients, as well as to juries during trial proceedings.

A lawyer should have solid analytical skills as well, which can help them identify different options that would best suit your situation. You should be able to easily understand how they plan on addressing your issue during your consultation appointment. Also, ask them how long they’ve been in practice and if they have any experience working on similar cases to yours. This will give you an idea of how quickly you can expect them to complete your case.


When hiring a lawyer, reputation is crucial. Just as with the purchase of any service, you should be able to evaluate an attorney in the same way that you would any other provider. Ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations and use online resources such as Martindale-Hubbell or your state bar association’s lawyer referral service to find lawyers with experience in your area of need.

Once you have a list of potential attorneys, visit their offices to see how they run and operate. You will want a lawyer who is organized and on top of their cases, as well as one that inspires confidence. You will also want an attorney who returns your calls and messages in a timely manner. Even though an attorney may be handling several cases at once, this is no excuse for poor communication. The ability to communicate effectively is essential for the development of a successful lawyer-client relationship.


Having a legal expert on your side who will stand up for your rights and protect your interests can provide you with peace of mind. The benefits can far outweigh the cost.

Many attorneys offer different fee arrangements, including hourly fees, flat fees, contingency fees, and success or percentage fees. Before hiring an attorney, make sure you understand the different arrangements and what each one entails.

Hourly fee arrangements typically include services performed directly by the attorney, but they may also include indirect expenses such as filing fees at the courthouse or fees to process and serve legal documents on other parties in a case. You should also be clear on whether a lawyer’s fees are inclusive of any costs for expert witnesses and travel expenses.

Some attorneys require clients to pay a financial deposit, called a retainer, before they begin work on your case. This amount will be deducted from your final bill. Attorneys will often return any funds remaining in the retainer at the end of your case.


It is important to hire an attorney who will be available to answer your questions. If you have a busy schedule, consider choosing an attorney who will meet with you after work or on weekends. This is especially true if your case involves time-sensitive issues.

When you interview potential attorneys, take note of how they treat you and their office staff. Do they respond to your calls in a timely manner? Do they provide you with background information about your case?

You should also find out how much an attorney charges. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee or contingency fee. Some attorneys are willing to negotiate their rates. For example, you may be able to get them to agree to bill in six-minute increments instead of fifteen-minute ones. You should also ask if their fees include expenses such as photocopying and shipping. If the price is too expensive, you might not be able to afford their services.