Similar to choosing a contractor for your house remodel or an accountant for your company, choosing a lawyer for your personal benefit should be done carefully. This person will not only know confidential information about your life but also offer legal advice and guide you through the legal world, all of which can be very scary.
From experience and reputation to location and cost, there are a few things you always have to consider when choosing a lawyer for you and your difficult life situation. Let’s take a look:
Experience in cases like yours
In most cases, lawyers learn best from experience, and unfortunately, from mistakes. When choosing an experienced lawyer instead of a rookie, you can expect them to have made many mistakes before, having plenty of knowledge on how to avoid them today. Thanks to their experience, they have skills that can’t be acquired in school such as how to negotiate with other lawyers and insurance adjusters, knowing when to settle, how to pick a good jury, how to cross-examine, how to make good arguments to the jury, how to persuade the judge to make a favorable ruling, etc. With experience comes the knowledge on how to deal with fellow lawyers, tendencies of certain judges, how local juries respond to evidence, etc.
If you’re dealing with a weapons license or gun charge, firearms lawyer will fight for the finest result possible in your case.
Clients, judges and peers always judge lawyers and law professionals, and that judgment gives them a reputation. Lawyers with a great reputation are a safe choice no matter how hard your case is and you can freely book them if they are available. To find lawyers with a good reputation, ask friends for recommendations. You can also ask other lawyers for referrals. For instance, a lawyer who worked on your personal will case might not deal in divorce, but they surely know a reputable and experienced colleague to recommend.
Laws vary from state to state and from country to country, so it’s best to look for a professional who comes from your area and is familiar with its legal requirements. For instance, Australia has its unique laws, but every state in Australia also has its laws. If you happen to live in a very remote Alice Springs area, find a lawyer who is willing to work over the phone or email. However, if you live in a major city like Sydney, you can easily find law firms in Sydney that wish to create a more face-to-face relationship. Even if you choose a big firm with many experienced lawyers, expect simplicity when it comes to costs and advice—perfect for someone who’s not familiar with laws.
Experienced lawyers usually have a lot of clients, so does your pick have enough time to dedicate to you and your case? Is their caseload huge or can they take your case right away? These are all important questions when choosing a lawyer. If your first pick looks overloaded, consider continuing your search for someone who is available to cater to your needs.
Even though we don’t like to think about costs when we have a big personal issue to take care of, but it is always a factor when choosing legal help. Gather information about cost and billing beforehand by asking for a quote. Also, check how they bill the clients—by an hour, using a flat rate, a contingency fee, negotiable fee or maybe even a retainer. And don’t forget to check whether your fee includes all expenses like shipping, filing and travel, because they are not always included and can be billed separately.
While experience and professionalism are definitely important, your future lawyer should also fit in with your character. It’s important to feel comfortable talking to your lawyer because you will need to be honest. And don’t forget mutual respect. All in all, a lawyer with good judgment, but also a good heart is what you need.
Having to go through this list of requirements while you’re in a difficult personal situation is not a pleasant experience, but choosing a good lawyer will solve your problem much faster and smoother. Good luck with your search.