Selecting a lawyer who is a good fit for you is very important. You will be addressing serious and sensitive matters and will likely be working regularly with that person for months if not years.
What is the best way to find a lawyer? Check with friends or family who have been through something similar to see if they had a good experience. Professionals like accountants, psychotherapists, members of the clergy and lawyers who don’t practice family law often know the best attorneys in your area. A good attorney will maintain and update a quality web site with lots of general information about themselves and the law to help you make a decision.
What should you look for in choosing an attorney? Different things are important to different people. Here are some criteria to consider:
Cost: Better established lawyers tend to charge more. If you are a person of limited means, you may want to look at someone less experienced or new to the area. Be sure to ask about hourly rates and up front retainer requirements at or before your first meeting with the lawyer.
Gender, age, race, religion, national origin: Competent lawyers come in all sizes and shapes. None of these factors has anything to do with the lawyer’s ability. However, your comfort level and ability to communicate with the lawyer is important if the relationship is to work. If you are not comfortable with a lawyer you interview, you should probably trust your instinct and not hire that person, even if you cannot isolate the cause of your discomfort. Just be sure you are not being swayed by stereotypes.
Personal compatibility: You must feel comfortable with the lawyer you hire if you are to work effectively together. Be sure the lawyer is one to whom you can talk and listen. Make sure their preferred means of communication is compatible with your lifestyle. Many lawyers prefer e-mail over personal meetings or phone calls. Some lawyers will speak by phone only by pre-arranged appointment. Many lawyers will not be available on evenings and weekends. Make sure you are comfortable with their habits.
Location: The location of the lawyer’s office may or may not be important, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, it is a benefit to be able to go conveniently to your lawyer’s office to meet and work on your case. And if the lawyer’s office is far from the courthouse, you may have to pay for the lawyer’s travel time. On the other hand, lawyers sometimes represent clients who have never seen the lawyer’s office.
It is said that most people form their impression of other people they meet within the first 10 minutes. You should know after an initial consultation whether you will be able to work with that particular lawyer. Don’t settle. Make sure you find the best fit for you.
Feel free to contact us to see if we are the best law firm for your case and if we might be able to assist you.