So, you’re looking for a lawyer. Perhaps you need one due to a pending lawsuit, or maybe you’re getting divorced and need help with the legalities of the split. No matter what the context of your case is, you must get a good lawyer. A good lawyer will lay out your legal options for you, work on your case, and try to get the case to rule in your favor.
There’s a lot of information to know about lawyers, though. How do you know you’re picking one that will truly help you? Here are 10 tips on how to choose a good lawyer, and why choosing not just a good one, but the right one will help you in the courtroom.
Tip 1: Know Your Situation
When thinking about how to choose a good lawyer, one of the first things to take into consideration is your legal situation. What do you need a lawyer for? Do you need a lawyer for a civil suit, or a bigger situation? Are you charged with a crime? Are you getting divorced and need legal counsel? Knowing all the details of your legal situation will tell you what kind of lawyer you need.
It’s vital that you’re crystal clear on whether your case is criminal or not. If it’s criminal, you should look at lawyers who specialize in criminal law. If you’re going through a divorce, you’ll need a divorce attorney. If you aren’t clear on your legal situation and what you’ll need from a lawyer, you’ll waste time (and possibly money) by asking to consult professionals who can’t help you in your current situation.
Tip 2: Research The Right Information
There are a lot of lawyers out there. In 2019, there were 1.35 million lawyers in the United States. Since there are so many lawyers to choose from, you need to research the right information. You should look up lawyers in your area that can help you. It’s highly unlikely that a DUI attorney, or another lawyer for that matter, will cross state lines to help with your case, so try to find a lawyer in your area to hire.
It’s also important to look up the proper information about what your court process will look like. Will you have a trial? Do you have to make legal arrangements your lawyer must help you with? This is information you’ll need to discuss with your lawyer ahead of time. They should also help you in the research phase of your case. If they aren’t doing their own research, that could be a sign that they aren’t the right lawyer for you.
Tip 3: Evaluate The Lawyer’s Experience
When thinking about how to choose a good lawyer, you should always take time to evaluate a lawyer’s experience. Just like any profession, there are rookie lawyers and more seasoned lawyers. Carefully consider how experienced you want your lawyer to be.
If you’re facing corruption charges or similar serious charges, you may want to consider a more experienced lawyer. If you need a lawyer for a less serious legal reason and you want to save some money, you could hire a less seasoned lawyer. It all depends on the severity of your legal situation and what level lawyer you’re comfortable working with. If you aren’t sure about hiring a more seasoned lawyer or not, reach out to your friends or family who have worked with a lawyer before. Ask them if their lawyer was more junior or more senior, and what their experience was like. They may be able to help you shed some light on your situation.
Tip 4: Ask Around About Their Reputation
Part of knowing how to choose a good lawyer is doing your research about lawyers in your area. That research includes asking around about their reputation. You should ask about how they are with clients, how they act in the courtroom, and if they have a good record winning cases. The more you find out, the better informed your decision will be.
Knowing your lawyer’s reputation is important if your legal case is high stakes. For instance, if you need a bankruptcy lawyer, it’s because you are declaring bankruptcy and need legal advice on what to do. Declaring bankruptcy means you are unable to pay your debts and are legally looking to wipe the slate clean. Since there’s a lot on the line for you here, you want to make sure your lawyer has a good reputation. Make sure they are prompt with their responses, they do their research, and they provide advice that actually answers your questions. The stakes are too high for you not to look into your lawyer’s reputation in this case.
Also, check if there are any negative posts or reviews about your potential lawyer online. If there’s anything negative written about them, ask them for their side of the story. If it sounds suspicious, you know their negative reputation may be accurate. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. You’re heavily relying on this person to help you in court, and if you can’t trust them, you have to move on and find someone you can trust.
Tip 5: Make Sure They’re A Good Communicator
Part of looking into how to choose a good lawyer is figuring out if they’re a good communicator or not. This is important for both your interactions with them and their interactions in the courtroom. Communication is important for every type of lawyer to prioritize, but it’s especially important for lawyers who handle personal matters, such as a child support lawyer.
Your lawyer should be clear about how they will communicate with you. This can be in person, over the phone, or via email. They should also discuss how they will update you on important matters related to your case. If you’re working with a lawyer and haven’t heard from them in weeks, you may feel like they aren’t taking your case seriously or that they aren’t putting in the work to move it forward. Be crystal clear on what updates you can expect at what time.
You should also ask how they communicate while they’re in the courtroom. Are they cool and collected? Or, if things get heated, do they tend to get passionate and argue loudly? Knowing this key piece of information will help you avoid any surprises once you’re in court.
Tip 6: Ask How They Consult With Clients
In addition to asking about their communication skills, you should also look at how your prospective lawyer consults with their clients. Do they regularly meet with clients in their offices? Do they prefer video calls? Or, do they strictly communicate with clients over email, unless there’s something big to discuss? Part of knowing how to choose a good lawyer is knowing how their consultation style.
Another part of the consultation part to think about is the research aspect of your case. What do you need to bring to the table? What details do you need to research and tell your lawyer about? There may be some lawyers who do a majority of the research on the case, but it’s important to be clear on what details you need to provide when you’re consulting your lawyer. Consultation strategies may differ from lawyer to lawyer. An insurance lawyer may have a different style than a family lawyer, and you need to know the details of their consulting plan.
Tip 7: Know Their Track Record
If you’re wondering how to choose a good lawyer, one of the most telling things to look at is their track record for winning cases. If they’re a good lawyer, they’ll have plenty of wins in the courtroom. If they don’t have a lot of wins, it could be a sign that their skills may not match what you need for your case.
There are a number of factors to consider when looking at a lawyer’s record in the courtroom. The first thing to consider is how much experience they have. If they’re a rookie lawyer, they may not have a lot of wins on the books yet. If they’re a more experienced lawyer and they haven’t won a lot of cases, then you may want to do some research as to why that is. It’s also important to consider what kind of lawyer they are. A wrongful death lawyer may see fewer cases per year than a corporate lawyer, which can skew their cases-won to cases-lost ratio.
There are a couple ways you can find out how many cases a lawyer has won. You could ask them yourself, call the state court, or if your lawyer practiced federally, you can search their cases in PACER.
Tip 8: Check Their Rates
One of the biggest things people consider when researching how to choose a good lawyer is what the lawyer’s rates are. Lawyers are typically expensive to hire, and depending on what you need a lawyer for, their prices could go up even higher. The rates for a job injury lawyer may be different from those of a medical malpractice lawyer, so keep that in mind as you’re looking at rates. Their rates may also be based on how experienced they are and how often they’ve won cases.
Hiring a lawyer is expensive, and you may be tempted to hire someone with the lowest rates possible. However, you have to consider how much is on the line in your case. If a lot is riding on it, you shouldn’t focus on hiring the least expensive lawyer — you should focus on hiring the right lawyer.
Tip 9: Monitor Their Follow-Up
Before you officially hire a lawyer, pay attention to how they follow up with you. Are they helpful and prompt? Or, do you not hear from them again after conducting an exploratory call with them? Their method and frequency of following up with you can be a good indicator as to how they’ll communicate with you if you hire them. Remember, different kinds of lawyers may follow up with you in different ways. An estate lawyer may contact you only if they have questions about your estate, while a criminal lawyer may contact you more frequently with updates.
Following up on your case is an important part of a lawyer’s job, so you want to make sure your potential lawyer does it correctly. After all, you will be paying this person a lot of money to help with your case. It’s good to know if you’re getting the most value for your money.
Tip 10: Trust Your Gut
There’s a lot of information about how to choose a good lawyer, and you may feel overwhelmed by it all. It’s okay to feel this way, but the most important thing to remember is to trust your gut when hiring a lawyer. A lawyer may seem good on paper and have a promising track record in the courtroom, but if you don’t think they have your best interest at heart, consider walking away. You may have a lot riding on your court case, so you don’t want to leave it in the hands of someone you don’t completely trust.
Always trust your gut when hiring a lawyer. If you aren’t sure whether or not to hire a certain lawyer, talk to your family and friends and get their perspective. The more you think about this decision, the better your choice will be.
A lot of people think about how to choose a good lawyer when they’re in legal trouble. There are a lot of lawyers out there, which means doing your research is key. Look up all your legal counsel options and weigh out the pros and cons. Look at the details of your case and determine what exactly you need in a lawyer. At the end of the day, it’s all about who you think can do the job and get you a favorable ruling in the courtroom. The more confidence you have in your lawyer, the less anxious you’ll feel throughout the legal process and the more focused you’ll be on winning the case.