What do you call ten thousand attorneys at the bottom of the ocean?  A good start!  How often have you laughed at that joke or a million others, making fun of attorneys? Many people even claim to not like attorneys – that is until they need one. In this article, we will discuss the considerations a client should make when hiring an attorney.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

There is no clear answer to this, as everyone has different circumstances they are facing.  The timing of when to hire a lawyer comes down to the needs of the individual.  Ultimately, whenever someone needs to make a legal decision, they should consult an attorney prior.

Hiring an Attorney Before Taking Legal Action

Lawyers are trained to look at the world from a different lens. An attorney’s job is to look at the legal implications that a person is facing and prevent problems from arising. If you hire an attorney after a legal problem has occurred, then the lawyer will be looking at ways to mitigate the problem.  Ultimately, it may come down to budgetary necessities.  In the grand scheme, it will usually be cheaper to hire an attorney to help prevent problems from occurring than it is to hire an attorney to fix a problem that has already happened.

How Do I Find the Right One?

Finding the right attorney can be a lot like dating.  The surest and most reliable way to find an attorney is to ask for recommendations from family, friends, and associates you trust.  Another great way to find the right lawyer is to tap into your social networks and reach out to former classmates who have become attorneys.  Even if they are not practicing the type of law you need assistance with, they most certainly know other attorneys who do practice in those areas that they can refer you to.

I Have a Few Referrals, Now What?

Once you have narrowed your search to a handful of attorneys, make appointments with them for a free consultation.  Getting an initial meeting with an attorney can help you eliminate a few options.  For example, if an attorney is difficult to get a consultation meeting with, or their office seems unprofessional and disorganize, then this might be an indicator that the attorney will not be available during the times that you need them the most or might not be as professional as you need.  During the consultation process, explain to the attorney your legal needs and take notes on their responses to your questions and how they handle any follow-up communications.

Is There Anything Specific I Should Ask the Attorney to Cover?

As we mentioned already, you will want to explain to the attorney your legal needs.  While having the consultation conversation, you will want to try and cover the following things:

  • Experience- It is important to make sure the attorney is experienced in handling the legal issues most concerning to you. For example, you would not want to hire an attorney who focuses on real estate law to handle a death row appeal case.
  • Empathy- Make sure that the attorney is empathetic to you and your issues. If they are very clinical in their response to you, then they might not be willing to think outside of the box to achieve the results you desire.
  • Communication- One of the biggest complaints people have about their attorneys is the lack of communication. Make sure that the attorney has professional communications while at the same time can explain issues at a level that you can understand.
  • Availability- As mentioned before, if you have trouble getting a consult with the attorney, then how responsive will the attorney be for an emergency?
  • Chemistry- Is the attorney someone you can work with to achieve your goals?
  • References- Ask the attorney to give you some clients or other professionals that they have worked with in the past that they can vouch for the attorney’s competence.
  • Fees- Before hiring an attorney, you will want to know how much they charge.

What Happens If I No Longer Want To Use The Attorney?

Just like personal relationships come to an end, so do professional relationships. You always have the option of hiring an attorney other than the person you currently are working with.