Selecting the Right Attorney
If you are facing complicated legal issues, it is advisable to select the right lawyer to handle your case. The service an attorney provides is significantly more than simply dispensing legal opinion. A reputable law firm can provide strategic counsel and apply successful tactics to deal with your legal problems.
Selecting the right attorney is not always easy. Searching the phone book usually does not provide adequate information to assist you in making a valid choice. Even referrals from family and friends are not always a wise decision because their legal issues may be significantly different from the ones you are facing. It is best to seek out a law firm with vast experience in handling legal situations exactly like yours. Choosing the right attorney can make all the difference between obtaining a successful outcome and losing your case.
Online legal services provide simple solutions to find attorneys that handle cases in your county and state. Once you have located lawyers with experience in the practice area concerning your case, it is best to conduct an interview with each potential candidate. Below are important questions you will need to ask during your initial consultation. They include:
- What experience and skills as an attorney do you have in handling my specific legal matter?
- How long have you been practicing law in the county, state or elsewhere?
- What is your success rate in handling cases like mine?
- What percentage of your total caseload do you dedicate to handling legal issues like mine?
- Do you have any certifications or special skills in this field of law?
- What fees do you charge?
- How is your legal service payments structured?
- Do you maintain legal malpractice insurance and if so, what is the policy limit?
- Will you personally perform all of legal tasks or do you outsource to others?
- Will I be charged any additional costs above your legal fees including copying fees, document filing expenses, postage and others?
- Do I need to pay upfront or are cases handled on contingency?
- Will I need to sign a representation agreement or fee agreement?
- In what ways do you communicate any development or change in my case?
While it is important to hire an aggressive attorney, avoid selecting lawyers based on a TV ad because they likely will not impress a judge or jury. Just like a flashy ad in the phone book, showy marketing tools do not always equate with providing good legal representation.
Hiring a Specialty
When selecting the right law firm, it is essential to ensure that the lawyer you choose specializes in the exact field of law involved in your case. As an example, hiring an estate attorney to handle your criminal case because the lawyer is an old friend of the family does not serve your best interest. In addition, criminal lawyers likely do not specialize in personal injury cases and are unfamiliar with tort law. Nearly every field of law is different from the other. It is essential to ensure that the lawyer you choose routinely practices the type of law you require.
Legal Fee Payment Options
Usually attorneys charge for their legal services in one of two ways – as an hourly rate or percentage of the amount obtained in a successful civil action case.
This means if you require legal representation to purchase a house, write a will or defend yourself against criminal charges, you will likely be expected to pay for their legal services by the hour. While it may seem counterintuitive to hire an attorney that charges you for every minute they work, this method provides you the opportunity to pay close attention of everything the attorney is doing for you.
Alternatively, if you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit or a personal injury claim for compensation, the attorney will likely arrange their service fees on contingency. This provides a high incentive for the law firm to seek as much money as possible from parties responsible for your injuries, damages or losses.
While the percentage of the attorney’s “take” can range from 20 percent to 45 percent or higher in a negotiated out of court settlement or successful jury award, most of these types of civil action cases are extremely complex and difficult to handle. However, if the attorney is unsuccessful in obtaining compensation in your case, you will owe them nothing.
Paying for Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Nearly every type of law firm outsources the “grunt work” to legal assistants and paralegals. When selecting the right attorney, it is important to ask if the law firm will be paying to outsource this work or if the expense is passed on to you. If you are paying an hourly rate, outsourcing can save you lots of money, because they usually charge much less by the hour.
As a part of selecting the right law firm, it is essential to know exactly what legal services, strategies and tactics of me.