If you need the services of a lawyer, you’ll be surprised at how many are available. Depending on how you look at it, the surfeit of practitioners can mean you will have a harder time choosing who is right for your needs. But you still need to select the right lawyer if you want your case to be resolved satisfactorily.
Your first step would be to determine the nature of your legal issue and base your choice of attorney from there. A lawyer who is familiar with your case is good to have whether it is processing immigration requirements, filing for damages from a personal injury, or selling or buying real estate. The lawyer’s experience and expertise in the legal problem you are facing will go a long way in resolving your case.
Technically, anyone who passed the bar examinations is qualified to practice law but you may want to look at other credentials. Normally, lawyers pick an area of specialization such as criminal law, family law, immigration law, labor law, personal injury law or real estate law.
A general practitioner may not know that much about your area of concern compared to a specialist. If you want to start a business, you want an attorney who has adequate training and experience in small business law to help you understand zoning laws, employment discrimination, software design issues, or restaurant licensing. You want a lawyer who is far up the learning curve when it comes to your concerns. It may cost you a bit more if you get a specialist but consider the extensive knowledge you’ll gain as money well spent.
You also need to pay attention to the lawyer’s personality if it agrees with yours. A lawyer may be well-experienced and highly recommended but what if he or she is also arrogant and self-centered, and feels privileged and entitled? Try to assess the personal chemistry between you and your counsel. You may not be able to achieve an ideal lawyer-client relationship if there is awkwardness between you and the person in your first few meetings. You have to go with your instinct as you will be working with your attorney for an extended period of time.
A suitable lawyer should also be within your price range. You have to know from the outset if you will be billed a fixed rate or an hourly charge so you can compute how much it would cost and if it is worth it. Do not hesitate to ask in the initial meeting what the costs will be. It would be appalling to find out later that you were charged in a manner that encourages dragging out the case so your bill will be higher. Obtain in writing an estimate of the cost of litigation.
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