Hiring an attorney is one of the most important decisions that anyone can make. Licensed attorneys possess the legal authority to defend people in criminal court proceedings and also in other administrative matters. When hiring an attorney, there are several factors to consider, such as the nature and extent of the case involved, the lawyer’s fees and payment plan, personal chemistry between the lawyer and the client, and whether the client and his/her lawyer have similar professional goals and values. Below are some of the ways to hire the right lawyer for your case:
o Check the Lawyer: You need to find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable working. While you certainly do not have to hire the first lawyer you meet with, you should at least initially meet with several potential lawyers. The best way to find a suitable attorney is to ask your friends, colleagues, family members, and even past and current clients if they would recommend any to you. Of course, you can also find out from your local bar association if there are any lawyers that are especially competent and experienced in handling cases that fall within your field of expertise.
o Select the Right Attorney: Once you find a lawyer, discuss the fees and payment terms. Most importantly, find out what type of payment arrangements the lawyer offers. In some instances, you might be required to make monthly payments while in others, you might only be required to make a payment when the case is settled or completed. Moreover, find out whether the attorney charges any retainer fees, which are generally assessed against the overall cost of legal services. Finally, find out how long it will take the lawyer to locate and process documents and other legal papers.
o Prepare a Legal Plan: When hiring a lawyer, prepare a written legal plan with your desired results clearly indicated. This legal plan will serve as your guide in making important decisions such as hiring a particular lawyer, agreeing on a price and scope of services, and agree on the dates that you want legal assistance. The plan can also serve as a reference in the event that you find yourself in a bind with no solid legal guidance.
o Agree on Timing: Before any legal matter gets resolved, it is important that you agree on a mutually agreeable timing for the resolution. Some clients prefer to have their legal matters settled outside of court and others may prefer to go to trial. Some prefer to settle with immediate effect while others may need a settlement for a specific time frame, such as immediately following a vehicular accident. Discuss with your lawyer whether or not he can arrange for you to appear in court without any potential contingent fees.
o Identify Your Needs: Prior to hiring a lawyer, you must identify your needs and find out what type of legal representation you require. For instance, will your matter be resolved quickly? What area of the law do you need representation in? Are there additional areas of the law that you require expertise in?
o Interview Possible Lawyers: Once you have determined that you require a lawyer, interview possible lawyers to determine if you will work well together. Ask plenty of questions about their experience, how many cases they have settled successfully, and what type of fees they charge. Remember that the best lawyers are not always the most expensive ones, so don’t compromise on this part of hiring a lawyer. In addition, you should also ask if you can conduct a competency research before hiring them.
Once you have chosen a lawyer, he will begin to look for a solution to your legal issue. He will then communicate with you, answer your questions, explain your legal issue, draft a contractual agreement between you and him, and sign it. In the meantime, you will continue to pay him your retainer so that he can represent your case. The legal issue may come to a successful conclusion, or it may not. It is in your best interests to hire an attorney when he thinks he can help you reach the best possible resolution to your problem.