From personal injury cases, to medical malpractice, to being ripped-off, you never know when you’ll find yourself needing the skills and expertise of your attorney. For this very reason, it’s vital to already know what to look for when choosing one. The following can only make this process that much easier.
Tipping the Scales of Justice
We all want the scales of justice to tip in our favor, that’s why we call upon the services of a seasoned attorney. By definition, an attorney is one who legally is appointed to transact business on another person’s behalf. Let’s make sure your attorney does so in the best manner possible.
1. Having the right attorney is more than just luck of the draw, you also can play a huge role and have a say-so in what does and does not take place.
And, though we may wish the full gamut of services were offered by each and every attorney, this just isn’t the case. Why? Since many attorneys specialize in different areas or have certain areas of expertise, some may not be well-versed in your matter. But, you can give your best effort by choosing a specialist to delve into your case.
What is a specialist? Say for example, you believe you have the brainiest invention ever, you can greatly benefit from a meeting with a patent attorney. This type of attorney will ensure you are advised on the best way to bring your product to the marketplace. In other words, just as there are a bevy of circumstances that can arise, there also are a plethora of attorneys who can meet your needs; find your specific attorney for your case.
What’s even more, according to findings presented by Nolo, of the roughly 1,000,000 attorneys spanning the U.S., less than 50,000 can boast training and experience in small business law. What’s the problem? Despite their best effort and genuinely wanting to help, limitations may not permit them to assist you. On the solutions side, specialists may charge more money, but if their information proves valuable it can be a resource worth retaining.
2. First impressions count for a lot, this theory extends to selecting an attorney also. For this reason, pay strict attention to the personal chemistry that exists or doesn’t exist, between you and your attorney. It is of no consequence how well-recommended and how much credentials an attorney has; if you feel ill at ease during the first couple of meetings, he or she just may not be the right attorney for you. Nonetheless, the goal is for the two of you to establish an attorney-client relationship.
3. It’s a given that you’ll have a plethora of questions throughout the duration of your case, that warrant answers. So, you’ll need access to your attorney, as these questions arise. Flexibility on your attorney’s part may mean making a few extra calls or meeting with you on an as-needed basis. Ask how you can best contact them, be it through email communication or a more traditional way, the telephone.
Also, know how much time it will take for them to touch base with you on your issue. Will it be days, weeks? The first mistake one can make is assuming that just because an attorney has a pleasant demeanor, they can bypass this step.
As a client, it’s your right to be in the know. It can be terribly frustrating to a client, to have a legal project sitting in an attorney’s lap with little or no progress being made. In many cases, weeks or months can go by without an update in progress. Establish a basis of communication and explain to your attorney that you expect him or her to work tirelessly on your behalf, following through with prompt results. They should know the status of your case when questioned, just the same.
4. Attorneys and clients must freely work together in order to address arising problems. Attorneys also are there to provide a wealth of knowledge. Think about this: if you were charged each and every time you have a question, it could quite possibly leave you in the negative with regard to cash. Interestingly enough, many attorneys will work with their clients, to help them acquire a working knowledge of the legal procedures and principles. This is excellent for the client, because it enables them to have the propensity to at least deal with an issue on their own.
To Be Determined
Attorney fees can be determined by these factors:
• Time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of questions raised and the skill needed to perform the required legal services (you can help keep costs down by having all your facts and documentation together when you meet with an attorney);
• Amount of damages sought and results achieved;
• Likelihood that accepting your case will limit the attorney’s ability to pursue other cases;
• Nature and length of the professional relationship;
• Fees usually charged in your geographical location for comparable legal services;
• Time limitations imposed by the client or by various circumstances;
• Experience, reputation and ability of the attorney performing the work.
For All Intents and Purposes
A few points to consider; if you intend to represent yourself in a case and want to enlist the services of an attorney for advice only, double-check to make sure the attorney is on board with your idea. Another possible scenario is if you’re going into business and will draft your own bylaws or business agreements, as well. Your attorney should be asked if he or she will review your drafts and offer suggestions and/or advice as necessary.
Raising the Bar, Even Higher
These suggestions barely even scratch the surface, when it comes to the multitude of facets you should look for in an attorney. However, you are a lot closer now, than ever before, to choosing the right one. Step number one: understand your legal situation and take it from there. And, as always, a good rule of thumb is to trust your instincts. Meeting adjourned!