Whether you are in a car accident, dispute or purchasing a house, you might want to get advice or representation from a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer is a huge decision and choosing the right lawyer is not always as easy as it seems. There are many types of lawyers practice in different areas. For instance, if you’ve been in an accident, you will need a personal injury attorney, and if you are getting a divorce, you will need a family law attorney. If you’ve never hired a lawyer before, there are some things you should know.
Research Prospective lawyers
By doing some simple research, you can find out exactly what type of lawyer you need. You should also always speak with more than one attorney. Think of your first meeting like an interview. You are essentially hiring a lawyer like a business would hire a stock clerk. By talking to more than one lawyer, you can get an idea of what is available and which direction you want to go.
Check With the Bar Association in Your State
Every state has a bar association. The bar association is the regulatory agency for lawyers. They handle complaints, misconduct and licensing. You can view vital statistics like how long they’ve been practicing and whether they’ve had any serious complaints against them. Most bar associations are accessible free online. All you have to do is look them up.
Check Review Sites
There are plenty of review sites available. Check to see what others say about the lawyer before you sign a contract. This will give you an idea about how the lawyer treats his or her clients. If they have many mediocre or bad reviews, you might want to continue your search for representation.
Ask For Fees Upfront
Although this might seem obvious, but you should know what your lawyer charges for each service. These services range from representing you in court to making copies of documents for your file. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate while others will take a percentage of any settlement that you might get. If you know the lawyer’s fees upfront, you can budget for your representation.
In most personal injury cases, lawyers work for between 20 and 40 percent of your settlement. Although this sounds like a lot, they do a lot of work, and many do not get paid unless you win.
Keep Your Records
Keep a record of any paperwork sent to you by the opposing party and any documents relating to your case. Be prepared to produce those documents should your lawyer need them to help your case. Meticulous record-keeping can often make or break a court case. These records are often entered into evidence to support your claim.
If there is anything you don’t understand or are wondering about, ask your lawyer questions. If a question occurs to you, write it down so you can ask it at your next appointment.
You have to be careful when choosing a lawyer. One that does not specialize in your type of case can cause more harm than good. Ultimately, you want a good mix of price and experience in the attorney that you choose.