Choosing a good lawyer can be complicated, especially if you need one urgently for an urgent case for you or your community. On top of that, there are about 1,338,678 active and licensed lawyers in the US, according to the last American Bar Association (ABA) survey made in 2018. Depending on your case you’ll need an lawyer from a given area of practice.
Understanding your case
To have the best lawyer for your case – especially if you don’t know anyone who can give you solid referrals – the start point is to take a little time to sit down and go through your case to get a better understanding of it. Probably during this process, you might find some difficult to understand some terms. Overall, you’ll get a lot of important information that will lead you toward finding the right lawyer.
Once you have done your diligence, start to narrow down what your prospective lawyer needs to know about the case, and based on that, establish what kind of lawyer you’ll need for your case. For example if you have been involved in a car crash and are injured you should look for a personal injury lawyer or car accident injury lawyer.
With that being said, there are some main steps to take on How to Choose the Best Lawyer for Your Case, and the first one is:
Ask the right questions
- How long have the lawyer/law firm been practicing in this area?
- What is their caseload/area of expertise?
Those two questions are crucial. When you’ve searched all the possible candidates you could find based on your previous understanding of the case, then you have to ask then the questions above.
To get the best chance of winning your case, you’ll need an lawyer with a considerable amount of experience in the field plus a handful of successful cases.
Look for a lawyer with experience
In other words, the most solid step toward the decision is to make sure you’ll choose the lawyer with the most experience in your type of case. So, search online for their names, their reviews, and client testimonials, and make sure their previous clients had positive outcomes and great advantages despite their type of case. Avvo.com can be a useful resource to find this information.
Hiring a lawyer with low – or not any experience – is a risky move. Dealing with complicated cases requires a lot of experience and a good network. Of course, it doesn’t mean that a newly graduated lawyer won’t do a good job.
This just means that it’s best to play safe, and always consider hiring someone with at least 5 years in the area of expertise that your case requires and a good number of wins.
Membership in relevant organisations
It would be even better if your lawyer or law firm were a member of an organization that deals with the exact field of expertise that your case requires.
For example, let’s say that you’re having problems with a claim for your car insurance, and you searched for a lawyer whose area of expertise is Insurance Law.
Then you’ve noticed that the prospective lawyer has large experience in the regulation of business insurance and just a little experience in insurance claims. In that case, despite the areas of expertise being complementary, you’ll have to choose if you’re going to take that risk and hire him, or play it safe and search for another one with more experience in your type of case.
Make an appointment with the lawyer
Probably, until you get to the point where you meet the lawyer in person, you’ll have to call the law firm or the lawyer assistant and make questions about your case right away, only then schedule an appointment.
Notice that in the phone call, you’ll already decide between hiring or not. That’s because considering the way the attendant, assistant, or paralegal responds to your questions and deals with your worries about the case. Based on this you’ll know if the firm or the staff team is receptive and approachable. Maybe this seems too much to ask but it’ll be crucial during your process, after all knowing that your lawyer has a good and prepared staff will decrease the chances of miscommunications and therefore, unnecessary problems.
Meet with the lawyer
Once you’ve made an appointment, you’ll finally meet your lawyer and start the discussions about your case. Depending on the area of expertise that your case involved, you’ll need to pay a small fee for the first appointment to cover the lawyer’s time, and in other cases won’t even be necessary to pay for this first appointment. A personal injury lawyer will usually offer you a free no obligation initial meeting and will act for you on a No Win, No Fee basis. Make sure they explain what this means when you meet.
As you’re having your initial contact with the lawyer, there is something you need to put into consideration before signing a hire contract:
- The lawyer can communicate properly with you and the others?
- Is he/she professional?
More than just years of experience, expertise and a handful of winning cases, your prospective lawyer has to communicate with you in the best way possible. You don’t want to be stuck with a lawyer that can only speak through the legal jargon and has no way to speak to you in a language that can make it possible for you to follow your case and be an active participant in the whole process.
How does the lawyer make you feel?
And last but not least, is to make sure you’re comfortable with your prospective lawyer, Makes no difference to you how many cases he/she won if you’re feeling like you can’t be open about your case or how you feel about it.
To be an active participant in your case you have to be aligned with all the decisions and positions that will be taken or it will be extremely stressful and can compromise the whole case.
So, to avoid that, make sure that all your questions are answered, that you’re allowed to call in case of any situation or queries, to do follow-ups with the consistency needed, and that your lawyer is always on top of your case. If he/she is lacking in any of these situations, consider finding another lawyer for the sake of your case.