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5 Aspects to Look for in a Lawyer



There are some things in life where you can’t cut corners. Hiring an attorney is one of those things, as you’re trusting the future of your case – and maybe your financial security or freedom – to one person who will know the ins and outs of your case and present the best possible face for you in court.

But while choosing the right attorney is critical, it’s also not easy. Many people choose based on price or flashy ads that boast of their success rate without checking to see if the attorney is a good fit for their specific case. Understanding these five aspects will help you pick an attorney who will give you the best chance at success in court.

  1. Specialized Expertise

An attorney isn’t a one-size-fits-all job, and many attorneys specialize in a small sector of the law that may require years of additional training. The fields of law change all the time – who ever heard of a lawyer specializing in the digital space more than a decade ago – but several key sectors will always do brisk business.

Criminal law and civil law are the two main divisions, but even among them, there are several divisions. For instance, a Raleigh criminal lawyer specializing in drunk-driving cases will be well-versed in the diversion programs available for first-time offenders in the area. A California civil lawyer with experience in divorce cases will be knowledgeable about the state’s mediation process. Asking key questions before hiring an attorney can help to find the ones who know the issues that mean the most to you.

  1. Accessibility

It’s common for attorneys to be juggling a lot of cases at the same time, depending on their specialty. You might not know exactly what your attorney has on their plate, but you can get an idea of how receptive they are to being contacted. Every attorney has a different system, but you want an attorney who is communicative and accessible.

This is one of those elements where you can find out some of what you need to know before hiring them. The opening process, where you contact them for a consultation or simply to discuss their rates, can help you figure out if they’re a good fit if accessibility is important to you.

  1. Fees

Hiring an attorney isn’t always a bank-breaker, and many attorneys are willing to work with clients if they believe in the case. However, it’s important to have a good idea of where your chosen attorney stands fee-wise before you sign on. The first step is doing research on lawyer fees in your area. You want one who is at least in the median for your market.

No matter what price range you’re looking in, it’s important to hire an attorney with a clear fee structure. Transparency makes it easier to understand what you’re getting into and what services you want. Understanding how fees are calculated will lead to a smoother relationship for everyone involved.

  1. Reputation

Before signing on with an attorney, make sure to look into the people they’ve worked with in the past. This could include their former co-workers if they were previously part of a large firm. A quick search might bring up any past issues, but if you’re casting a wide net, you might be able to get first-hand reports from their former co-workers.

Another element, of course, is client reviews. There is no Yelp for attorneys, but you should be able to find reviews of attorneys online. It’s important to distinguish real issues from simple disgruntled clients, of course – some clients may just post a negative review after the attorney lost a case no attorney could win.

  1. Good Attorney-Client Relationship

Sometimes, the most important element when hiring an attorney is the intangible ones – do you have a good rapport with the attorney? You might be able to figure this out after a quick meeting or two. Do they seem receptive to your concerns? Do you have their attention during meetings? Are you on the same page about goals? Sometimes, a good attorney just isn’t the right fit, but in other cases, it may take a little time to establish the attorney-client relationship. Know what you want, but don’t be too quick to write off an attorney.

The Right Lawyer For You

If you need a lawyer, this might be one of your most important decisions. This is someone you need to trust with your best interests. It’s best to go through all the factors before signing on.

Is this attorney the right specialty for you? Are you comfortable with their history, their fee structure, and their accessibility? If you feel like you have the foundation of a good attorney-client relationship, this can be the key to success in court.

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