Choosing an attorney can be a confusing process akin to rolling the dice. How can you maximize the chances of selecting the right attorney for your particular case? This is a question that many people fail to consider when picking up the phone to call the first attorney they find in the phone book (or more likely, online). How do you know which firm to choose? Here are some tips:
- Research the firm thoroughly. This can be done online or through your local Chamber of Commerce or BBB. Look for things like the lawyer’s education, training, and experience. Also make sure that the lawyer is familiar with your type of case (personal injury, defense, malpractice, tax, etc).
- Make sure the attorney is local and familiar with the laws in your state. This is especially important for personal injury cases, as experience and professionalism can vary widely in that area.
- Make sure you review the fee schedule and payment agreements with the attorney in detail before retaining them for your case. You should feel free to ask as many questions as possible to make sure you fully understand what your costs will be and how the lawyer will be paid. For many cases (including personal injury cases) lawyers will work on a contingent basis, which means that they don’t get paid until your case is settled. At that point, they take a percentage of the awarded settlement (if there is one). Make sure you are fully aware of their piece of the pie before you sign on the dotted line.
- Finding the right attorney is only one piece of the puzzle. Just because you find the right firm, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily take your case. Make sure you have as much information and detail as possible ready for the initial consultation. Remember, if you’re expecting an attorney to take your case on contingency, they must believe that they have a very high chance of securing a settlement, otherwise they get nothing. The more facts and details you have, the better they can make an informed decision on whether to take your case or not.