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Published On: Wed, Jun 14th, 2017

Tips on Hiring an Attorney

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photo by Okan Caliskan via Pixabay

Legal fees sometimes become a part of our lives. Although the Internet has made it quite easy to do the humdrum work on your own—coming up with a barebones operating contract—doing DIY lawyer work has many limitations. Therefore, the trick lies in hiring the most trustworthy legal help you can find.

Here are some tips that will help in the process of hiring a lawyer:

Ask Family and Friends for Referrals

Asking your inner circle of friends for help might not turn up the type of lawyer you need, but it is a start. Although your best friend’s divorce lawyer might not be very helpful in an injury case, he might know people who are perfect for the job. If you do not want your closest friends to know that you are looking for legal help, you can hunt on your own by looking up bar associations in your state.

However, you should know that these lawyers are not necessarily qualified. The bar association only gives them the license to practice, so you need to conduct more research.

Hit the Web

On the Web, you can find several accurate lawyer rating systems. Martindale.com is one such resource, and it gives lawyers a rating of A, B, or C. You can rely on these ratings because they have been given by other experienced lawyers. Once you have a shortlist of lawyers that you are considering, remember that the size of the firm is important.

If you are looking for a lawyer who can negotiate a new lease for you, you should opt for a small firm. However, you should know that letters to your legal opponents that originate from big firms usually carry more weight.

Initial Consultation

If you are looking for a free consultation with an attorney, plenty of them will be willing to give you one. Before you pick up the phone, you should do your homework. Look for the attorney’s website to see whether it looks professional or cheap. Next, you need to look into your prospective lawyer’s background.

For your first meeting, you need to have a list of questions ready. Some questions that you should consider asking include the following:

  • How many similar matters have you dealt with?
  • How fast do you respond to emails and calls?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Will you keep me informed about the progress of the case?

The lawyer could charge you a small fee for the first meeting. However, you should not be offended because most clients take the first meeting as an opportunity to get free legal advice. Whatever you do, you must understand how much the lawyer is charging, as this will save you from many headaches much later.

Lawyers usually charge in three main ways:

By the Hour – Hourly rates can add up to a huge bill. However, if you come across a lawyer who charges very cheap hourly fees, you should be wary because you will get what you pay for.

Flat Rate – This could be the best fee structure for people who are on a tight budget. This is because you will know how much the lawyer wants in advance, putting the money aside will be much easier.

Contingency – In this option, you will only pay if your lawyer wins the case. This payment structure is mostly used in settlement cases, and the lawyer takes a percentage of your settlement if he or she wins the case.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

Once you decide on a specific lawyer, you will be ready to sign an engagement letter. Because this contract binds you and your lawyer legally, you should read it carefully.

Author: Joanna Stovic

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