I hope the video above helps guide you in this process. The simple truth is that websites can give you information, but they can’t do much to help you make this decision. You need to sit down with your potential attorney face to face. There is no ‘shortcut’ to choosing the right attorney.
ONCE YOU’VE SET UP A MEETING WITH A POTENTIAL ATTORNEY, SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER INCLUDE:
- Am I meeting with the person who will actually handle my case?
This might seem like a given, but it’s not. More than one firm will have you meet with either a ‘sales’ attorney, someone whose main role is signing up new business, or perhaps with the head of the firm. When you get to court you’ll find your actual attorney that day is someone you’ve never met before.
- Is this someone I can listen to?
Attorneys have different styles of communication, just like anyone else. And just like any other relationship, you’re going to get along better with some than others. But the important thing is not so much that you “like” your lawyer (although that certainly helps!), it’s that you feel like when this attorney speaks to you, you’ll be able to listen. Listening means hearing what they have to tell you about your case, good or bad, trusting that it is both honest and well-informed, and being able to take what he or she tells you to heart.
- Does this person really seem to have time for my case?
If your attorney doesn’t have a reasonable amount of time for you when you’re considering paying him or her a substantial sum of money, he or she isn’t likely to have any more time later. Of course a good attorney is often busy– attorneys are busy people in general– but, within reason, you shouldn’t be made to wait, feel ignored, or rushed out of there when you go to your consultation interview.
- Is this attorney charging me for a ‘name brand’, or worse, treating this like a clearance sale at a used car lot?
The cost for any given attorney can vary widely. What you want to know is that your costs aren’t arbitrarily inflated, or on the flip-side, driven down like a cheap used car. Either way, it’s a problem for you. Some attorneys charge a lot because they can’t keep their costs down– they pay for all kinds of services that don’t help you win your case one bit (they just make the firm look like big-shots on the outside.) That means you’re simply paying too much. Other attorneys treat legal fees like a fire sale. That means it might save you in the short-term, but that office has no way of keeping up with the business they generate by treating it like a discount lot. If they don’t charge you enough, they’ll make up for it by signing up more cases than they can really handle, and your case won’t get the attention it deserves.