Seven Tips for Hiring a Qualified Attorney

Hiring a qualified attorney to represent us is a very important decision. It can spell the difference between winning and losing. There are several factors one needs to consider and to look out for when choosing an attorney.

  1. Determine why you need an attorney. Is it for a civil or a criminal case? Or do you need someone to draft an important contract and help see you through a deal? This will help you determine the type of lawyer to look for. Each lawyer has a different area of specialization and getting an attorney that is an expert in your particular field of concern will greatly improve your chances of winning.
  2. Ask around for references. Talk to people who are in a similar situation as yours and get their first hand feedback regarding their lawyers.
  3. Be wary of attorneys who aggressively advertise their practice and claim to be experts. In the legal profession, the more reputable firms do not need to belligerently publicize themselves.
  4. Interview prospective attorneys. Many lawyers offer the first consultation free of charge. Take advantage of this as an opportunity to get to know the lawyer. After all, you must be comfortable with your attorney and should be able to trust him. If your instinct tells you that the person cannot be trusted, do not engage his or her services. During the interview, ask about details such as payment terms and attorney’s fees, and be sure to check if s/he is indeed licensed to practice law in your area. You can verify this with the bar association. You can also check with the local bar association whether or not the attorney has had any complaints lodged against him/her.
  5. If you see the need for litigation, it may be best to get a local attorney. This way, s/he will be familiar with the local courts and local procedures. S/he may have a greater chance of negotiating deals or getting favorable outcomes as s/he may have dealt with the judge or opposing counsel already before.
  6. Get an attorney who is within your budget. Hiring an attorney whom you cannot afford might only lead to more problems later on. Also, remember that price does not always equate with quality.
  7. Discuss the fee structure to the last detail. Make sure you go over possible costs that may crop up later on. If possible, get a written agreement covering the fees and costs.



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