So, if you are planning on hiring an attorney soon, heed the advice of the top lawyers and avoid those common pitfalls outlined below. Do not be shy about discussing lawyer fees. In fact, before you even hire a lawyer, it is critical not to only inquire as to how much your prospective lawyer will charge you during the time you will be retaining him/her, but also when exactly the payment is due, says…. !
Hiring an attorney is not like buying groceries or renting a movie theater. Indeed, hiring a lawyer can, in fact, be quite risky and, hence, should be done with great care. As with any high-priced item (like groceries or a movie), there are bound to be corresponding high-priced attorneys. It goes without saying that selecting the wrong attorney may cause serious legal problems for you. In contrast, finding the appropriate legal strategy to deal with a legal matter can be a relatively inexpensive undertaking.
As previously mentioned, attorneys generally charge a percentage of the overall recoverable compensation award. However, some lawyers will take into consideration other factors such as (but not limited to) past client experience and other special incentives offered to clients. For example, a well-established lawyer may find a way to extract a certain percentage of the award by offering a contingency fee arrangement. While the contingency fee payment may sound attractive, you should find out first if it is binding on the client.
Most attorneys have soft skills. When hiring an attorney, especially in a complex legal matter, try to find one who has good soft skills. This includes being able to listen to your situation and determining the best course of action based on your particular circumstances. This is especially important in complex cases where there are many details to be ironed out and where you may be tempted to shortcuts or to take a shortcut around a problem. Good lawyers are good listeners, good communicators, and good consultants.
Aside from the above-mentioned attorney soft skills, consider hiring an attorney with competence and interpersonal sensitivity. Most law firms offer a free preliminary consultation to their potential clients. During this time, you can speak to a representative about your case and discuss the scope of your legal work and what areas you expect to be addressed. Since most law firms tend to hire an attorney based on their personal preferences, this initial consultation is a good time to find out if the firm is right for you. You can also discuss the types of cases that they are familiar with, and perhaps even ask for referrals.
Some lawyers charge a contingent fee on any work they do on your case; some charge a flat fee for any work they do; and some are willing to handle a contingency fee. Contingent fees are more common in complex litigation and contingent fee attorneys are experienced in handling cases that involve complex issues and are aware of the associated costs. Attorneys who charge a contingent fee work very closely with their client and come up with the best strategy to win the case for their client, while avoiding the high fees usually associated with such cases.
In addition to a list of appropriate characteristics, you should also consider hiring an attorney who is not just a specialist in a given area, but one who is also willing to offer advice outside of his expertise. For example, you might not want to retain the services of an attorney who focuses on commercial law. He would not be the best person to give you advice about setting up a limited liability corporation for your business. Likewise, you probably would not want to hire an attorney who handles only complex litigation on a regular basis. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney who can handle whatever situation comes his way, regardless of his specialty.
The primary reason for seeking legal representation from any perspective is to obtain a fair and reasonable resolution to your legal problem. As such, attorneys are extremely candid about their fees. You must take this into consideration before meeting with them. Make sure you understand clearly what the fees will be honest with them about your financial situation. Honesty and candor are important if you expect the attorney to seek a reasonable solution to your problem. Many attorneys provide free consultations, so you may try several lawyers before deciding which one you like best.