Whether your business is being threatened with a lawsuit, if you’re facing individual legal charges, or if you’re just curious about what you should do if you’re involved in an accident, you know that you need to have excellent legal representation on your side.
However, so many people are in such a rush to find an attorney or lawyers that they end up making a poor choice — or simply not asking the questions that they should.
This post is here to help you avoid making similar mistakes so that you can get the best possible outcome for your case.
Read on to learn the top mistakes that you need to avoid when hiring a lawyer.
1. Take Their Credentials at Their Word
While the vast majority of legal professionals do have the credentials that they claim to, one of the biggest errors people make when hiring an attorney and lawyers is forgetting to verify those credentials for themselves.
Always check the American Bar Association database to ensure that the attorney is legally licensed to practice in your state.
It’s also a smart idea to verify their educational credentials with the schools they say they graduated from.
2. Hire an Attorney Too Quickly
Another huge mistake that far too many people make when hiring an attorney?
Going with the first option that they find, or simply taking the recommendations of family and friends and working with the same legal professionals that someone they know has in the past.
We know that you’re likely anxious about your case and want to get representation as soon as possible.
However, you also want to be certain that the attorney you’re working with specializes in the area of the law that your case falls under.
For example, if you’re seeking a settlement as a result of a workplace injury, work with an attorney who handles mostly worker’s compensation cases. If you’re requesting alimony after a divorce, work only with a divorce attorney. If you’ve been in a car accident, work with a car accident attorney. (You get the idea.)
Remember that the attorneys the people you know worked with likely hired these attorneys because they were equipped to handle the specifics of their case — not your own.
Plus, the more attorneys you meet with, the better your chances are of making the right choice.
3. Forgetting to Ask About a Fee Structure
Forgetting to ask about how payment is collected and how the cost breakdown of legal services work is another common error that people make mostly because of nerves when speaking with an attorney.
However, the last thing you want is to be hit with a large lump sum request for payment that you didn’t know was coming.
Always ask about how much the attorney charges for their services, if they charge by the hour or by the specifics of the case, and if you’ll need to pay in a lump sum or if the payment can be broken up and billed to you over the course of several months.
You should also ensure that you have a written agreement of the fee structure and cost in place to protect both you and the lawyer.
Another helpful piece of advice when you’re looking for a qualified attorney and lawyers? Never shop by price. Especially in the legal field, you get what you pay for.
4. Failing to Speak with References
You absolutely need to speak with a minimum of two references — preferably over the phone — before you decide to work with a specific attorney.
Ask the attorney if they can connect you with references that dealt with cases similar to your own.
When you chat with these references, ask questions about how the lawyer presented themselves in court, if the client felt like a priority, if documents were filed correctly, if the lawyer was on time, and of course, if the client was happy with the outcome of the case.
You can also check law firm websites to read online testimonials from past clients. It’s also a smart move to check with third-party review sites for more unfiltered and honest comments on what the experience of working with a specific firm was like.
5. Not Scheduling a Consultation
When you’re hiring an attorney, you should always schedule an in-person consultation before you make a final decision.
This is the time to evaluate your lawyer’s personal communication style, assess how effective you think they’ll be in court, and ask them important questions about how they would proceed with your case.
Check out this list of helpful questions that you should always ask a legal professional when you meet them for a consultation.
Pay close attention to how much time they take in answering them, if they can break complex legal jargon and concepts down into laymen’s terms, and whether or not you feel that the answer given was satisfactory.
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Hiring an Attorney and Lawyers
When you’re ready to hire an attorney and lawyers to fight for you in court (or even help you to settle out of court altogether) you need to make sure that you avoid these common mistakes.
Always schedule a consultation, check references and credentials, and ask about their fee structure.
Remember, this is not the time to rely on the advice of family and friends. Do your research and find representation that specializes in the specific area of your case.
Need more tips on what to look for in an attorney? Curious about the kinds of documents you’ll need to present? Want to understand what constitutes a legal violation in your industry?
Our blog is here to help.
Keep exploring our posts in the future, and even use our blog to learn about upcoming business conferences and events in your area that will help you to expand your professional network.