According to the American Bar Association, there are well over 1.3 million lawyers in the US.
If you’re looking for a lawyer, it can be hard to know where to start.
However, it’s essential for the success of your suit that you find one who is equipped to handle your specific case, who has experience, the right specialization, and a good track record.
Fortunately, once you know how to look for a good attorney—and the right questions to ask—hiring a lawyer isn’t all that hard.
Read on and learn how to find the ideal attorney in this guide to hiring a lawyer.
Ask Around in Your Network
One of the top tips for hiring a lawyer is to ask around in your network. Ask friends, family, and coworkers whether they have hired a lawyer in the past and if they were satisfied with their services.
If this doesn’t generate results, you can also take to social media. Post a tweet, ask on Facebook, or query your Instagram connections. You might find you get some good referrals.
When asking friends, family, coworkers, or online connections, make sure that you include what type of lawyer you want to hire. Law is a complex and involved field. When hiring a lawyer, one of the best pieces of advice is to always hire an attorney who specializes in your specific type of case.
This could be personal injury, divorce, car accidents, etc.
Check Online Reviews
The next thing you should do when hiring a lawyer is to check online reviews. You can either google specific lawyers, or you can simply type in something like “attorney near me.”
From here you can check out potential lawyer’s reviews on platforms like Google Reviews and Yelp. If you find a lawyer with positive reviews, this is a good sign. If you see a trend of unhappy reviews, steer clear.
Ask Other Attorneys for Referrals
Do you know any attorneys? If so, they are the perfect person to ask for referrals.
Whether you know them socially, or have hired them in the past, an attorney will have professional industry-level insights on other lawyers in your area.
Check the Lawyer Disciplinary Agency in Your State
Before hiring a lawyer, it’s always a smart move to double-check that they don’t have any disciplinary actions against them. The way to do this is by looking them up at your state’s lawyer’s disciplinary agency.
Here you will be able to search through a list of lawyers who have disciplinary actions in their name.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Lawyer
Now that we have covered the basic steps to finding legal help, let’s go over some of the questions you should ask potential lawyers.
Take note that you never hire the first lawyer you find. Instead, you’ll want to set up appointments with more than one. During these appointments, you can ask the following questions.
How Long Have You Been in Practice?
One of the first questions to ask before hiring a lawyer is how long they have been practicing. This will give you an idea of how much experience they have.
You should also ask what their courtroom experience is. Just because a lawyer has been practicing for some time, doesn’t mean that they have gained jury experience.
Additionally, make sure that you also enquire about their areas of specialization. You don’t want a jack-of-all-law handling your case. Instead, you want an attorney who is versed in cases just like yours.
Do You Think I Have a Case?
Opening a case takes time, money, and emotional energy. If you don’t have a strong case, it’s important to know this from the outset so that you can weigh up whether it will be worthwhile pursuing it.
What’s more, asking this question can also give you an idea of how straightforward a lawyer is. If an attorney paints an overly rosy picture, this can be a warning bell. On the other hand, if they outline certain challenging areas of the case, even if they are few or small, this will show you that the lawyer in question is open and honest.
How Many Similar Cases Have You Handled?
Besides asking them about their area of specialization and overall experience, you should also ask potential lawyers how many similar cases they have handled.
If they have fought very similar cases, they can draw on their past experiences and knowledge of the law to increase the odds of your success.
Are There Other Avenues I Should Pursue?
When hiring an attorney, you are perfectly within your rights to ask them if there are any other avenues they would recommend, such as remediation. As mentioned above, lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming.
A good attorney will help you find alternative routes if these hold a good chance of being successful.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
One of the most important questions to ask when hiring a lawyer is what their fee structures are. You need to make sure that you can:
- Afford the attorney in question
- Budget for their fees
- Not be unpleasantly surprised by unexpected costs
To get clear on their fee structure, ask them how much their fees are, and how they are billed. You should also enquire about payment options.
Lastly, ask the lawyer whether they can give you an idea of what the additional costs might be. Lawsuits inevitably trigger “hidden” costs, such as filing fees and summons servings.
Hiring a Lawyer Isn’t Hard When You Know the Right Questions to Ask
The prospect of hiring a lawyer can feel daunting. After all the success of your case depends on you finding one that is experienced, reliable, and competent. Fortunately, hiring a lawyer is simple once you know how to look for one and what questions to ask.
Now that you know what to ask a lawyer before hiring them, it’s time to find the best lawyer for your specific case.
Are you located in California? If so, we can help.
We are a firm of experienced personal injury lawyers. With over 40 years of experience, we take pride in our 98% success rate.
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