Odds are that you will need the services of an attorney for one reason or another during the course of your adult life. Indeed, you may have reached that juncture at which you face the need to retaining legal counsel. There exist a number of steps you need to take to ensure that you hire the most suitable attorney, at a fee level that fits within your budget.
Scanning the Internet is Not Enough When Selecting a Lawyer
In this day and age, many people rely exclusively on the Internet when it comes to hiring a professional service provider. In the case of engaging a lawyer for your legal needs, scanning the Internet and web surfing simply is not enough. Professional organizations like the American Bar Association note that the Internet is a great research aid when seeking an attorney. However, there is far more to the process of hiring a capable lawyer than Internet searches and a review of online reviews—even though this is a good place to start.
Use Only a Truly Reliable Referral Directory
The number of professional referral directories found on the Internet today is ever increasing. While some are adequate, only a fraction of those in business are truly reliable and worth using when seeking legal representation. While using an online lawyer referral service can be beneficial, a person needs to focus on those operated by reputable professional organizations like the American Bar Association.
The Crucial Nature of an Initial Consultation
Quite likely you would never buy a car sight unseen. You should not retain an attorney without first scheduling and participating in an initial consultation with such a professional. Because a lawyer typically does not charge for an initial consultation, the session truly permits a person in need of legal help the ability to check out an attorney up close, before making a final decision.
Obtain and Follow Up with References
During the initial consultation process, you need to obtain two or three references from a lawyer. In fact, many people do obtain this information, but then fail to follow up and actually contact references. This step is a must before a final decision is made to hire an attorney. Ideally, obtain a reference of a former client as well as one that is a professional colleague.
Review a Written Retainer Agreement Closely
Always make sure you obtain a written retainer agreement from an attorney you elect to engage. Make certain you read the retainer agreement closely. This usually means you will want to take the agreement with you and review it thoroughly at a time that is convenient for you.
In order to find a lawyer that is a good fit for your specific case, your budget, and your needs, it will take a little research and investigation. However, if you are willing to put in the time to find the right lawyer, you’ll are much more likely to be happier with the results. Take the time to thoroughly research, compare, consult, and interview lawyers and references that will lead you to a perfect match, and find a lawyer who is truly right for you.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the criminal defense lawyers in Newark, NJ at Clark & Clark LLC.
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org via Chris Potter.