Choosing a reliable lawyer might be the most important step to help you win a legal case. While it can be a challenging task that requires a lot of research and consideration, a reputable legal firm will provide you the best defense and save a lot of money. Here are a few things to make the process easier.
1. Determine which kind of attorney you need
In most cases, it’s always best to choose an attorney who specializes in the specific area which your case is involving. Also, you should find a service that is familiar with the laws and courts of the local area you live. This would allow the attorney to best represent and defense your interests. A few examples of the practice areas include bankruptcy law, criminal law, disability specialist, estates and trusts, family law,, personal injury law, employment law, corporate and small business law.
2. Contact the local lawyer association
Most state lawyer associations will keep a public record about disciplinary actions and complaints taken against lawyers qualified to practice in the area. Thus, make sure to contact them and sort out a few reputable legal firm in your city or neighborhood. More importantly, most local associations usually offer a free referral service which can help you locate a lawyer to suit the needs of your case.
3. Review the website of each attorney
By taking a look at the website, you can learn more about the services and previous work of an attorney. Make sure to read the “About us” section to know the type of practices and area of specialization. Also, check the blog or FAQ section to see if the information is helpful or not. Most reputable legal firms will have a well-developed site that offers helpful knowledge.
Keep in mind that many attorneys also use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. So make sure to check those profiles too to get an overall sense of how they would be able to cooperate with you. A sample of an impressive website is one from the injury and accident lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy.
4. Consider the size of the company
Law firms might come in different sizes, from one to dozen or even hundred attorneys. Thus, it is essential to choose a service that would be most suitable to your case. A big company might want to hire a large legal firm to deal with extremely complicated or international matters. Nevertheless, if you are just searching for a professional to counsel you in writing a will or getting divorced, hiring a smaller service might be more affordable and quicker.
5. Make an appointment
After making a list of potential attorneys, you should make appointments with them and get a consultation. Most firms will do this for free, but some might charge a small fee. If you don’t live in the same city or state as the lawyer, consider scheduling an online consultation instead of a face-to-face meeting. However, you will often want an attorney to show up in court with you, it is advisable to choose a local professional to represent you.
6. Ask your questions
During the appointment, it’s a good idea to ask the attorney any questions you have. He shouldn’t have any issues answering these inquiries, and shouldn’t sound unsure or hesitant. A few areas to ask about include pricing, delivery time for the legal work, success rate, available schedule, and any misconduct.
7. Understand the charge
In general, there are 3 ways that an attorney might charge for their service, including hourly fees, a contingency fee, or a flat fee.
A flat fee means that the attorney will bill one time for dealing with the entire cases, regardless of the number of hours he might take. This type is common in criminal cases, domestic relation cases like custody or divorce matters, document drafting, and bankruptcy cases.
An attorney who charges a contingency fee doesn’t get fees from the clients unless he recovers the money for them, either through a trial or settlement. However, the fee would be from 30 to 40% of the settlement amount. The common cases for this type of fee include personal injury or employment discrimination.
Lawyers billing an hourly rate will get money based on amount of time that they’ve worked on the case. Usually, this type of fee is commonly used by corporations and businesses who are being involved in litigation.