Similar to looking for an experienced doctor or accountant, you should be vigilant in your search for a lawyer. There’s a vast give-and-take involved when looking for a lawyer. Whether claiming a lawsuit or settling matters with an ex-spouse, you would likely share confidential information with your lawyer. You are seeking legal advice from that lawyer. You want someone trustworthy and experienced to provide proper guidance, or your legal battle will become a financial loss.
From experience and qualifications to specialization and cost, there are several things to consider when hiring a lawyer. Many good options are available, and it can get overwhelming when you contact the best legal advisor. To make the search process less intimidating, here’s a list of six things to consider when hiring a lawyer.
- Long-term or Short-term Commitment?
The first thing to consider when looking for a lawyer is to ask yourself whether you need a lawyer for a short-term or a long-term commitment. Is the legal battle you’re in right now going to be lengthy? More importantly, is it something you can handle on your own, or having a legal expert by your side would make things easier? Asking yourself the right questions at the start would help you determine why you need a lawyer.
For most lawsuits involving accidents and employer negligence, it’s often recommended that you hire specialists in the personal injury or negligence law area. For instance, those living in Knoxville can approach the Law Office of Burroughs and Capps for personal injury and other related claims. Their lawyers are competent and qualified in dealing with malpractice and injury claims. Naturally, injury claims and malpractice lawsuits can range from short-term to long-term commitment. The onus is on you to decide which lawyer would suit your budget and legal needs.
Once you have decided that you need legal advice and assistance, assess what help you need. Do you only need legal advice or want to delegate your legal affairs to someone?
Answers to these questions determine whether your commitment with the lawyer of choice will be long-term or short-term.
- Area of Expertise
Another essential factor to consider when hiring a lawyer is to review their field of expertise. Lawyers can specialize in specific areas like medical malpractice, personal injury claims, and tort law, among others. Some may combine a few related subfields and specialize in family or divorce.
Apart from specialized attorneys, many lawyers practice as general practice attorneys, providing legal help in any area. Usually, in smaller communities, you would find general practice attorneys.
Keeping the specialties in mind, you must look for a qualified legal advisor with expertise relevant to your case. For instance, if you seek legal help for a personal injury claim, you should seek a personal injury lawyer. Not only would they be more familiar with the technicalities of your case, but they would be able to help you better.
- Knowledge and Experience
Similar to the area of expertise, you need to look for an attorney who is not just theoretically qualified to understand the needs of your case but has the experience and knowledge to advice. It would be better to go ahead with a qualified lawyer with a broad range of experience fighting cases similar to yours.
The lawyer must have knowledge of all the laws, court proceedings and decisions, and regulations relevant to your case and your state or region. They must also have a commendable winning streak when solving issues like yours. Having experience dealing with cases similar to yours is one aspect, but leading those cases to victory and settlements should be another significant factor.
Sometimes it’s feasible to opt for a law firm rather than independently practicing lawyers. Law firms in your area would have more experience and knowledge to deal with cases. It’s also better to have a team of attorneys review your case and build it from there. Your lawyer’s knowledge, area, and experience define your legal battle.
- Timeliness and Communication Skills
Apart from field-related factors, you want to hire someone good at managing their time and resources efficiently. Lawyers have a lot of documentation, meetings, and case-building to do. It can easily overwhelm them, provided they often work on a few cases simultaneously.
There is a widely common complaint about lawyers, and it’s that they don’t reply to emails and answer calls on time. Lack of timely correspondence can make or break your chances of securing a settlement or winning a case. However, a lawyer needs better time management to ensure a smooth legal battle. Therefore, when looking for a lawyer, make sure you have assessed their communication and time management skills.
The first meeting you set with your lawyer or the delay in the first message, email, or call you left should help you gauge how seriously they would be dealing with your case. It should be a good indicator of why you shouldn’t hire them. If you are not a priority for the said lawyer or firm, correspondence from their end won’t be timely.
- Reputation within the Legal Community
Apart from organizational skills, knowledge, and experience, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hire has a good reputation within the legal community. The Internet makes it easy to look up a lawyer and check their credentials and reviews online.
You can also ask for references and recommendations from other people who have experienced the same lawyer or from other legal experts. You should research the background of the lawyer you’re planning to hire.
A lawyer with a good reputation will raise your legal battle’s winning stakes, and you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Lastly, ensure the attorney you select is well-respected by the defense and the prosecution.
- Negotiation Skills
The most critical factor to consider when hiring a lawyer is their negotiation skills. You want to hire someone who knows both sides of the coin and can guide you on which way out is better for you. Your lawyer would negotiate with the opposing party on the settlement or lawsuit terms.
Also, a good lawyer can guide you on whether a lawsuit or a settlement would be better for you, depending on the modalities of your case. And, if a settlement is better, they would also help you negotiate a larger payout.
These six factors are some of the main points to consider when looking for a lawyer to fight your case. You must do your due diligence in research and ensure that you have found the best. Expertise, knowledge, and experience are crucial in deciding which lawyer to go ahead with, alongside reputation and skills.