How to Choose the Right Attorney
We all encounter at least one legal life event throughout our lives. The matter could be something as ordinary as resolving a speeding ticket or purchasing a home, to more complicated legal situations like international adoption or contested divorce.
Whatever legal assistance you need, it is crucial to appoint the proper attorney to your case. This will, of course, require a bit of research on your end as preferences are unique to each plaintiff, defendant, and case. Remember – be specific and ask questions.
Shop around. Attorneys use their time wisely, as should you. Before setting up a consultation with an attorney, be sure they are the right fit for you. You may want to gather references from friends, family members, and colleagues who have used an attorney for a similar legal matter.
If you require a lot of involvement, be sure your attorney is open to constant communication. Should you like to pass the matter along to the pros, find an attorney who prefers to handle business without much interference.
You also want to make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you choose, as they will be intimately involved with your legal and personal matters. Response times and promptness are another important inquiry to make during the research phase. You don’t want an attorney that arrives late to court!
Expertise. Equally, if not more important than your personal connection with the attorney is his or her experience handling your legal matter. Exploring a general practice law firm may be a good place to start your initial research. However, if your legal matter requires more specialized experience with immigration or disability pursuits, you’ll want to seek guidance from someone who focuses solely on that area of law.
Language goes hand-in-hand with expertise. You may need an attorney that not only concentrates on bankruptcy law, but one that speaks Spanish, Arabic, or American Sign Language.
- Area proficiency
- First- or second-language requirements
Good location. Let’s say you find the most experienced attorney in the adoption world, but he works in the Hollywood Hills and you live in the mountains of Montana. That California attorney may not be the best fit for you. In addition to reviewing an attorney’s qualifications and workstyle, look into their office locations to ensure they are within a reasonable distance of your home or workplace. Surely you don’t want to deal with traffic or airfare on top of an already complicated legal matter.
Having an attorney that is familiar with your region’s laws can only benefit you in the long run, too.
Cost. You’ve hired your dream attorney in a friendly office just five minutes from your home. That’s great! But what is the cost? Attorney fees vary, as do retainer fees, so be sure your dream attorney is also in your price range.
Legal Resources Members can access our Law Firm Finder to jumpstart their attorney search.