If you have ever been in a situation that requires hiring a lawyer, you will know and understand how easy it is to hire the wrong lawyer because of the urgency of the matter.
Whether you are a business owner in need of an attorney for your tax issue, charged with DUI (Driving Under Influence)-related offenses, or any crime, avoid the mistakes highlighted below;
- Not interviewing the lawyer
Everyone in need of a lawyer’s service should understand that even though they are employed to defend you, lawyers are at your service and not the other way round because you are paying.
Don’t just hire a lawyer without asking some straight and challenging questions. Some of the questions you may want to ask include;
- Has the lawyer handled similar cases, and what were the verdicts?
- How many years has the lawyer been handling this type of case?
- When was the last time the lawyer handled a related case?
- Can the lawyer get/cross-examine expert witnesses who might testify in the case?
- What is the best outcome you should be expecting from the case?
According to the Law Office of Scott C. Thomas (www.ScottCThomasLaw.com), a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orange County, California, even if the lawyer is your friend, interview them before hiring them because when it comes to a criminal case, it’s your life that is on the line.
- Hiring a lawyer too soon
This mistake is common among startup business owners. Your business needs legal counsel, especially when you have a tax issue that needs urgent attention. Most of the time, a case requires diligent research.
Instead of hiring a lawyer outrightly, request their consultation service. Some firms offer this service for free.
During this time, they will review your case and analyze the strong and weak points while evaluating your chances.
The way this is handled can help determine if the assigned attorney is suitable for the job or not.
- Ignoring reviews
Avoid hiring a lawyer without knowing the experience of past clients. Ask friends, families, and close associates for recommendations. They are more likely to recommend people they are satisfied with their services.
You can also check the website of the law firm you are considering, and they should have testimonials published there. If not satisfied, you may request contacts of previous clients to ask them about their experiences with the firm.
- Failure to request a complete fee breakdown
Knowing how much a case would cost you from the onset is better than getting to the middle of it and discovering the expenses are double what you anticipated.
Law firms usually have additional fees they may not tell you during consultation. This is why you need to ask. Inform them you want all fees listed so you can budget accordingly.
To avoid any sudden increase in the fee charged, ensure you have a written fee agreement with your lawyer.
Do not hesitate to haggle the legal fee. Let them know the maximum amount you can afford.
- Not researching more options
Do not limit your options to a single law firm. As stated earlier, some lawyers offer free consultation services. Take advantage of this.
Shop around as you would for your wardrobe, but only settle for the best.
Choose an attorney you feel confident talking to, and you are sure has a genuine interest in your case.
How to find the perfect lawyer for your case
Now that you know the mistakes to avoid, here are some tips on how to find the perfect lawyer for your case;
Identify your problem
You need to know what your case is all about. Is it a tax issue, real estate problem, or employee breach of contract? There are different specialties in law, and every lawyer has their area of expertise, even though that does not stop them from representing a client in a case unrelated to their specialty.
To find the best hand for your case, search within the perimeter of lawyers in the field. If it is a DUI issue, hire a DUI lawyer; likewise, search for family law attorneys if it is a divorce case.
One of the ways you can make your search easier is by approaching a reputable law firm. They usually have lawyers specializing in different practice areas.
Hire from your locality
Hire a lawyer operating in the locality of where the case is filed. Someone familiar with the area would understand the local laws and personalities of the authorities in the region.
You can contact the local bar association in your area for possible referrals. There are also websites with lawyers’ details and previous clients’ reviews. Friends and families can also be reliable sources for a potential attorney.
Discuss with your prospective attorney
Schedule a meeting with any potential lawyer you may be considering. A good lawyer must be a fantastic communicator because this is a great skill required to convince a judge and/or juries.
During your meeting with the lawyer, be clear about your expectation from the case. A good lawyer who understands the case would be able to give you reasons why your expectation can/cannot be guaranteed.