There are two types of people. Those that have already hired an attorney, and those that haven’t hired an attorney yet. Unfortunately, schools do not teach you how to choose an attorney. Today, I’m going to provide you with four things to look for when you have to make your choice. Pay attention though because the last one is the most important.
Choose a Client-Centered Approach
You’re not the first person that’s had to hire an attorney; BIG surprise, right? This is important for you to realize at the beginning because it will help you understand that law firms are set up and managed with the idea that new clients will be calling for help.
Therefore, you aren’t going to be given a law exam when you call, and you aren’t expected to know any legal jargon just to hire an attorney.
When hiring an attorney, remember that you’re hiring someone to provide services just like any other service-based industry. The biggest difference is that the person who provides your service spent a lot of time in school. Therefore, as with all services, you should expect caring and empathetic attention when speaking to an attorney or their staff.
Personally, I make it a point to tell every client that I’m there to be their attorney and they aren’t there to be my client. So, when choosing an attorney, make sure you choose someone who approaches your legal representation with this client-centered approach.
Choose Services, not Results
One of the biggest misconceptions that exists is that attorneys are simply hired guns that are paid to get results. Unfortunately, attorneys aren’t permitted to guarantee the outcome of any legal matter and are barred by the rules of ethics from doing so.
The greatest reason that attorneys can’t guarantee an outcome in your case is because it is impossible to predict the verdict that a jury will return or the ruling that a Judge will make. The role of an attorney is to assist you by providing you with legal options so you can make an informed decision on how to present your case in court.
So, when choosing an attorney, be very weary of attorneys who promise certain results because they’re just writing you checks that you’ll never be able to cash.
Choose an Attorney with Value
As with everything in life, you get what you pay for, and what you see is what you get. You wouldn’t buy a Pontiac Fiero and expect the performance of a Ferrari. It is true that there is a sizeable gap in the hourly rates that different attorneys charge but consider first that there may be a reason that some attorneys are willing to accept your case for a cheaper rate.
Remember, cost and value aren’t the same thing. Hiring an attorney who isn’t experienced and skilled in the type of case that you’re facing can cost you a LOT more money in the long run. An inexperienced “cheaper” attorney can ultimately be quite expensive because you could end up paying them to make mistakes along the way. If you’re lucky, an inexperienced attorney’s mistakes along the way won’t cost you a courtroom victory.
When you choose an attorney with experience in your type of case, you’re choosing an attorney with value.
Choose Someone You Can Talk To
Regardless of the situation that you’re facing, you’re probably not thrilled with the idea of hiring an attorney. Beyond hiring an attorney, you’re probably even less thrilled at the idea of the months, and sometimes years, that you’ll be dealing with this legal issue.
The absolute best advice that you’ll ever hear in finding an attorney is to find an attorney that you feel comfortable talking to.
Sure, you may be able to find an attorney who is cheaper, who has more experience, who holds a more prestigious resume, or who will promise the world, but in the end, you’ll be thankful if you have an attorney that you can talk to.
The same holds true for every type of case imaginable. If you’re a defendant in a criminal case, how much will it help your case if you’re not comfortable telling your attorney what actually happened? If you’re going through a bitter divorce, you’re going to have to share some of your family’s deepest secrets with your attorney. If you’re building a business, you’re going to have to be painfully honest with your attorney on the financial status of your business.
Long story short, you can use your social media for sharing the bright, sunny, and happy side of your life, but your attorney needs to know everything if you want the best advice. How easy is that to do if your attorney doesn’t make you feel comfortable sharing these details without judgment?
When choosing an attorney, choose the one that you feel comfortable talking to.
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479