You are involved in a legal issue. You have decided that it is too complex to deal with yourself and that you have the financial means to hire a lawyer. You are in the market for a lawyer, but how do you know which lawyer to hire?
Ask questions and act as a consumer.
You would not go to Best Buy and purchase the first television you see. You would look at reviews and compare the prices in order to determine which television best fits your budget and needs. The same process should extend to looking for a lawyer to hire. There are several sites on the Internet that allow you to do comparison shopping for goods. Legal matching services provides the resource to do comparison shopping with lawyers.
Three considerations before you hire a lawyer:
1. The first and most important question to ask a lawyer is: How much do you cost?
Does the lawyer charge hourly, a flat rate, or a contingency fee? How much is it? The fees can vary substantially depending on a lawyer’s experience, location of practice, and areas of practice. Usually a lawyer’s hourly cost can range from $150 – $350 per hour. Flat fees are are widely dependent on the nature of a case. Simple divorces, minor criminal cases, and bankruptcies can range from $400 and up. Contingency cases are common in personal injury cases and are often 33% of the recovered amount, but they can range from 25% – 40%.
It is important that you shop around and do not assume that one lawyer’s quote is the norm or that you cannot find a cheaper lawyer. Always ask for free initial consulations and do not be shy to negotiate a lawyer’s cost. There is a lot of competition among lawyers, so make them compete. Competition is especially fierce in smaller firms and among sole practitioners since they do not have the advertising resources and high profile clientele of larger firms.
2. The second question to ask a lawyer is: What is your experience in my type of legal issue?
You want to know what experience the lawyer has that is related to your claim. Have they had any similar cases to your case? If so, what was the result? This is important and can affect the price of a lawyer. If a lawyer has several years of experience, they may be more expensive than someone with less years of experience. If this is true, ask yourself whether the cost is worth the experience. You can find experienced lawyers at cheap rates, but you have to shop around.
3. The third question you must ask yourself: Do you like the lawyer?
There are a lot of lawyers out there with bad raps. Adwokat Lublin You do not want a lawyer that quarrels with clients and is hard to get a hold of. You want a lawyer that understands you are entrusting them with a major legal and oftentimes personal issue. You want a lawyer who is a good listener, trustworthy, and reliable. It is very important that you find someone with these qualities.
When you talk with a lawyer ask yourself if you feel comfortable. Also, think about whether the lawyer is someone you can trust. The answer to both these questions must be yes.
Legal matching services will put you in touch with lawyers. The next step is to use resources on the web that allow you to review the lawyer’s reputation and dealings with clients. BBB and Yelp are some great examples of these types of resources. Many lawyers are listed on these websites with detailed reviews.
A chart below provides some questions you can ask lawyers when you are shopping around. The questions relate to cost and experience. Whether you like the lawyer is simply a gut feeling, no chart required.
Do you charge on an hourly basis, on a contingency fee basis, or with flat fees?
How much do you think this case will cost me, in total?
How do you bill your clients?
Will I be responsible for copying costs, mailing costs, expert witnesses costs, and other costs outside your usual fee?
Do you offer payment plans?
Do you accept credit cards?
Experience and General Questions
What areas of law do you practice?
Do you specialize in a specific area of law?
How much experience do you have in cases like mine?
# of cases?
# of years of experience?
How long do you think it will take to resolve my legal issue?
How will I be informed about the status of my case?
Are you available after hours?
Will other lawyers be working on my case?
Based on what you know about my case, what are the strengths and weaknesses?