Finding the best lawyer is not easy, and most people require their legal services at least a couple of times in their lives. However, did you know that the lawyer you hire to write up your will is not the same lawyer that can help you purchase a house, settle an injury claim or sue your employer? When choosing a lawyer, keep in mind that no lawyer is right for every case, and here are tips to help you find the best lawyer for your legal problem.
A great way of understanding a lawyer’s legal capability is through conducting an interview. Fortunately, most lawyers allow an initial consultation that takes an hour at no charge. During the interview, find out more about the lawyer’s experience in handling your legal matter type.
At the same time, find out if they have any special certifications or skills, and their fees as well as how they are structured. A higher fee does not necessarily mean that a lawyer is qualified to handle your matter. On the other hand, a rock bottom fee might be a sign of inexperience, future problems, or incompetence.
Resources such as the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, both online and at physical public and law libraries, are great places to find information about law firms and lawyers. In fact, lawyers often use the directory when they are looking for legal talent in other jurisdictions.
The Martindale lists information of just about every lawyer in the U.S. and Canada as well as professional biographies of leading lawyers and firms in other countries. Information listed includes peer reviews, which can help you choose between qualified candidates.
When cases require a great level of expertise, general practice lawyers will refer the cases to those that practice in a specific niche and locations. For example, if a case required specifics on long term care benefits then it would be wise to look for an elder law attorney in your state. A lawyer with skills to handle specific cases is likely to have better knowledge than general practice lawyers.
In addition, a lawyer with a limited practice is most likely a member of a professional association in that specific law field. For instance, a workers’ compensation lawyer may join the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, while employment discrimination lawyers may join the California Employment Lawyers’ Association. Such professional memberships give lawyers an opportunity to increase their skills and contacts that enhance their ability to represent their clients.
Their peers, judges, and clients constantly judge lawyers, and this judgment helps a lawyer develop his or her reputation. When looking for a lawyer, a good place to start is by searching for one with an excellent reputation. To assess their reputation, ask friends or relatives who have had similar cases to yours.
When your friends praise a particular lawyer, it is worth making an appointment to talk with that lawyer about the particulars of your case. If you had a lawyer represent you in an unrelated case, you might want to ask them for a referral.
For example, that lawyer who wrote up your will may not do ERISA law, but will certainly recommend attorneys working in that law field. Perhaps even an ERISA lawyer with expertise in how to use data from tools like Clockspot to support your case.
Like choosing other products or services, choosing legal services requires conducting thorough research so you make an informed decision. Once you have contacts of several referrals with expertise in a specific practice area, carefully interview every candidate. The tips above will go a long way in helping you find the best lawyer depending on your particular legal requirements.