According to the American Bar Association, there are currently 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. With this many lawyers in the US, surely it must be easy to hire a lawyer, right? It seems like you cannot drive on the highway or turn on your television without seeing a commercial for a lawyer. So when it is time to retain the services of an attorney you may find yourself wondering how one goes about hiring a lawyer. Keep in mind that hiring the right lawyer is important because of the stakes that are involved if you hire the wrong person for the job. How do you hire the best lawyer? Here's a few tips!
Many people often feel intimidated when they talk to a lawyer. They may not want to ask questions, especially when it comes to money. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask the following:
How much will their service cost you?
How do they bill their clients?
Will they charge a flat fee, or by the hour?
When and how will you receive payment if there is a settlement?
What are their payment terms?
For example, The Major Law Firm’s Criminal Defense attorney offers flat fee pricing. This means that the amount of the attorney’s fee is fixed and will not change during the representation. The Major Law Firm’s personal injury lawyers offer contingency fee pricing. This means that you pay nothing unless The Major Law Firm recovers on your behalf.
It is important to understand how the attorney’s fee will be calculated. Meet with different attorneys regarding your case and get these questions answered. Most attorneys offer a free case evaluation, so use this as an opportunity to learn as much as you can. What you don’t know may end up costing you.
Compare the fees that an attorney gives you. Don’t automatically go with the lawyer who charges the most and conversely, don’t go with the cheapest lawyer. Hiring the most expensive lawyer does not mean that you are guaranteed to win. Hiring the cheapest lawyer can also backfire because they may not dedicate the necessary time to your case. They may also not be familiar with your type of case and may not know what your type of case will run. If you're a teen, read how you can file a claim against an accident.
When you realize that you need a lawyer, whether you've suffered a slip and fall accident at work, or you want to file a wrongful death claim, make sure that the person you hire is able to handle your type of case. For example, a lawyer who mostly focuses on immigration cases may not be able to help you with your construction accident case. The lawyer may be well-known in the media and community for helping with immigration cases, but they may not have the knowledge or expertise to handle a case that is better suited for a personal injury law attorney. Conversely, a family law attorney may not have the skills or expertise to help you avoid DUI charges. In that case, a lawyer who focuses on criminal law will be your best bet.
When you bring your case to an attorney, ask about the experience they have in dealing with the case you have. Have they handled cases similar to yours in the past? Ask what type of strategies they have used before. Do they know who the prosecutor might be? What do they know about opposing counsel? It’s easy to hire the attorney with the biggest billboard, but if they don’t have experience with your case, you may find yourself on the losing side. Hiring the wrong attorney goes beyond losing money. You may lose your family, your wages, or even face imprisonment.
Regardless of the reason that you are needing an attorney, you should feel comfortable with the person that you are entrusting with your legal case. When you meet with a potential pay attention to how you feel when you are with them. Does the attorney make an effort to make sure you feel like you can ask any questions that you might have? Do you get the sense that you can contact them to ask them questions about the case and trust that they will answer you in a timely manner? Or do you get the sense that they will take forever to get back to you, if they ever do?
During your initial meeting with a lawyer, ask questions about your case. While they cannot give you detailed legal advice until you retain them as your attorney, they can give you some information that gives you an idea as to whether they can help you or not. Don’t feel rushed to sign a legal contract retaining your services until you feel assured that your case will get the proper attention that it deserves.
Find out who will be working on your case. Is it the attorney that you are meeting with, or is it a junior attorney? A large firm may give your case to a junior attorney to handle and it may be someone that you may or may not feel comfortable with. Remember, you are employing someone to help you and you should feel good about who you hire.
In addition to feeling comfortable with your lawyer, make a note of the types of questions they ask you. A lawyer that is familiar with your type of case will ask you specific questions about your case. They will ask for dates, people involved, past legal history, etc. An attorney that has experience with the issue you have will know what questions they need addressed. They will not pressure you to sign a contract until they feel absolutely comfortable that they can help you.
You should be able to walk away from your initial consultation feeling assured that you are in the right hands.
If you have any questions or would like a free case evaluation, contact The Major Law Firm. Our office is located in San Antonio, Texas but has experience practicing all over Texas. Give us a call at (210) 957-1967.
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