Whether you’re going through a divorce, setting up a business, or planning your estate, you need the best legal advice possible. If you’re choosing a personal injury lawyer, your decision could affect how much compensation you get – or whether you win or lose the claim. Perhaps you’re in need of a legal advocate right now but are struggling to know which way to turn. In this article, we’ll provide 7 pieces of advice you need to follow when selecting a lawyer.
1. Check Their Qualifications And Experience
Looking into a lawyer’s credentials is one of the most important things you can do. It’s essential that they have all the necessary certifications and licenses required, as proof of competency in their field. Furthermore, you need to find out how long they’ve been practicing law. Experienced attorneys will have many years under their belt and will be able to use this knowledge to get positive results for your case.
Attorney websites are perfect places to get this type of information. If you’re researching Personal injury lawyers you can view their affiliations and accreditations, and learn about previous successful claims. You can also discover what types of cases they deal with, such as auto, truck or motorcycle accidents. Additionally, you’ll often find photos of the team and information about the geographical areas they cover.
2. Ask About Fees
Fees can vary significantly between lawyers, so you need to fully understand the costs involved before hiring one or signing a contract. In addition to asking about their hourly rate, you should also inquire about any hidden costs or additional expenses that may come up during the course of your claim. Request an estimate for the total cost and ask if there’s anything else besides court fees or other filing fees that may be required.
Don’t be afraid to shop around for different attorneys and compare prices. This will give you the best chance at finding someone within your price range who can still provide excellent legal services.
3. Choose Someone Local
This means they’ll have better knowledge and understanding of local laws and regulations which could affect your case. They’ll also be aware of the Statute of Limitations for your state, if relevant.
A local lawyer may have connections within the court system, which could benefit you and give you an edge in negotiations or litigation proceedings. It’ll also be cheaper and easier to visit your attorney, whether it’s to have a quick lunchtime chat or drop off important signed documentation.
4. Read Online Reviews And Seek Personal Recommendations
Reviews can provide great insight into a lawyer’s competency, professionalism, and customer service. For example, experienced lawyers may have an established online presence. They may have acquired many positive customer reviews that attest to their expertise and success rate. On the other hand, there may be multiple negative reviews about a particular attorney or law firm, on popular review sites like Yelp or Avvo. These could be indicative of poor service quality and should lead you to reconsider your choice of lawyer.
When in need of legal representation, the best place to start seeking advice is from people you know and trust. Personal recommendations are invaluable when it comes to selecting a lawyer who can effectively advocate for you. Friends, family members, and colleagues may be able to provide insight into their experiences with lawyers, in order to help you find the right one for your needs. Ask questions about how long they’ve known the lawyer, what kind of legal matter they were dealing with, and whether or not they were successful in resolving the issue. Finally, ask if they’d use them again if needed.
5. Conduct Several Initial Consultations
These free, non-obligatory meetings are an opportunity for you to get a better understanding of the attorney’s background, experience, and knowledge in relation to your legal needs. During these sessions, you can ask questions regarding their fees, how long they’ve been practicing law and their success rate with similar cases as yours. This will help you narrow down potential candidates that best meet your needs and expectations.
Additionally, these chats give you insight into how comfortable and confident you feel with each attorney during the consultation process. Depending on your situation you may be needing to discuss sensitive information such as your health or personal finances. It’s also important to know that this person is a good listener!
6. Check Their Availability
It’s important to determine whether or not the lawyer would have the time available order for your case to receive the attention it deserves. For instance, they may be currently working on large projects or cases with tight timescales.
Make sure that they’d be available by email or phone during regular working hours. Also, ask them how long it takes them to respond when contacted, what their process looks like, and if they’re comfortable with virtual meetings and court filings if necessary. Finally, consider how you’d like them to contact you with updates, and how often.
7. Choose Someone You Trust
If you have a personal injury claim, you’ll need to be happy to let your lawyer communicate and negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies. This can be a difficult process for those not familiar with legal discussions and proceedings, making it essential to have someone who understands the process, and knows how to effectively represent your interests.
An experienced attorney will allow you access to information that may be beneficial for your case, and provide guidance if negotiations take a wrong turn or become more complicated than expected. They’ll also be able to advise you whether or not to accept a settlement offer. If neither party can reach an agreement, you’ll need to be prepared for your lawyer to be your voice and legal advocate in court.
Thanks to these 7 pieces of advice, you’ll be well-placed to find the ideal lawyer for your situation. They’ll be at your side from start to finish, advising you at every step. In turn, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your case is in the best possible hands.