Finding a lawyer to help you solve a legal problem is an easy task, though it is advisable to know what services you need before you decide to hire their services. If you need a divorce or have been served with a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you out of your quagmire. However, not all lawyers specialise in criminal cases or litigation. Some attorneys are skilled in estate planning, drafting of wills and trusts, tax matters, business contracts and partnerships and in other services.
If you decide to hire a lawyer, there are several issues that you should consider before you pick the best lawyer to handle your case. These include cost of legal services, experience, the attorney’s customer relations skills and qualifications.
Before you hire a lawyer, you need to negotiate about the legal fees. You should enquire from the lawyer whether he charges a flat fee, a contingent fee or an hourly rate for his services. Ask for an estimate of the total legal fees that you will be required to pay. You need to know whether there are any other additional fees such as scanning and photocopy costs, filing fees, paralegal costs, travel expenses and mailing costs. Enquire whether the fees can be negotiated, and whether the lawyer can do all the required services within your budget.
You should keep it in mind that lawyers compute the cost of their services based on their experience. Nonetheless, an experienced lawyer is able to do the work faster and more efficiently than the less-experienced one.
Just as you wouldn’t hire a gynecologist to treat a heart problem, you shouldn’t hire the services of a commercial lawyer to help you draft a will or guide you throughout your divorce process. Most lawyers prefer to concentrate in one aspect of law, just like some doctors opt to concentrate in cardiology or neurology.
Moreover, small town attorneys tend to handle diverse legal matters as opposed to those who live in bigger cities.
Level of Experience
Once you decide which type of an attorney you would like to hire, investigate how experienced that lawyer is. The more serious or complex the issue, the more you will need the services of an experienced lawyer. Note that an attorney’s experience should be determined based on how many years he has practiced that area of law. Hence, a personal injury lawyer is highly recommended if you have been hurt in an automobile accident, though such experience won’t be useful if you need a lawyer who specializes in divorce.
Degree of Comfort
Lastly, hire a lawyer whom you feel comfortable with and can trust. If you aren’t comfortable with an attorney’s level of expertise, judgement or advice, your relationship will be strained. In order to determine whether you are comfortable with an attorney before you decide to hire his services, you need to observe his demeanor as you ask him questions. Check whether the lawyer listens patiently as you explain your problems to him. Do you feel at ease with him? Do you agree with his strategy?
You can also find the attorney’s past clients to ask them about their opinion of his services. If a lawyer has a stellar track record in his field of expertise and treats his clients well, hire him.