Attorneys can help people at various times in their lives. Much like doctors specialize in particular types of medicine, attorneys also tend to focus on one area of the law. For example, some lawyers might specialize in criminal law, while others may help their clients with estate planning.
Choosing an attorney is an important decision, and one that many people will need to make at least once during their lifetimes. The following tips can help people find an attorney to help them with whatever legal advice they need.
· Book an initial consultation. Initial consultations are typically free of charge and these meetings often give people a first impression of an attorney before they have to spend any money. Initial consultations are a great opportunity to gauge an attorney’s personality and demeanor, determine his or her experience and even his or her outlook for your particular case. Book consultations with as many attorneys as necessary until you feel comfortable making a decision.
· Be ready to ask questions. Attorneys should not be the only ones to speak during a consultation. Make a list of general questions and questions specific to your case and don’t hesitate to ask them. Ask about the attorney’s accessibility should he or she become your attorney, making sure to determine if the attorney or someone else, such as a paralegal, will be your primary contact during your case. Many people are most comfortable with attorneys to whom they can speak to directly throughout their case, and that’s an important point to consider for people who may never have needed an attorney in the past.
· Discuss costs. Attorney fees are not immaterial, no matter how serious a case might be. Attorney fees vary widely, and professional legal advice is often expensive, especially when cases are complex and lengthy. Expect to sign a contract regarding fees before an attorney begins working on your case. Many attorneys will provide cost estimates, so get those in writing.
· Seek recommendations. As noted, many people require the services of an attorney at least once in their lifetimes. So don’t hesitate to ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations. Word-of-mouth can be a great way to find a reliable, trustworthy attorney. In addition, certain organizations may be helpful. For example, AARP might recommend lawyers who specialize in estate planning.
Attorneys help people who need legal advice. Finding the right one involves careful consideration of a host of factors.