Today Your Legal Corner will discuss “6 attributes to consider when hiring an attorney.”
What do you think most people want in retaining an attorney? If you said, “winning their case” you are absolutely correct. When attorneys meet with a new client, the first questions usually are- what are my chances of winning; what will the judge do or how much money will I receive? While these are all very important questions that do deserve a response, I will share this with you. No attorney can tell you if you will win your case; predict what a judge or jury will do or inform you the exact amount of settlement money you will be able to receive. If they say they can, do not walk out of their office…run!
Hiring a lawyer
What attorneys can provide are reasonable expectations to the above questions without a guarantee. If you are seeking the most favorable outcome for your case and quite frankly who isn’t consider some favorable attorney characteristics listed below when hiring a lawyer.
If I had to select one word that describes what to look for in an attorney, it would be “experience”. As you will see, checking an attorney’s bio, noting the area of practice, communication and negotiating skills along with compassion are characteristics that fall under the umbrella of “experience”.
After you have asked friends, family and co workers for names of attorneys they would recommend, go on the law firm’s website and review the attorney’s biography. Length of practice alone should not be a determining factor. Look to see if the attorney is a member of your community. If an attorney has a favorable reputation in the community, this may be helpful to your case. Note awards received and how many of your type of case this attorney has handled successfully.
Area of Practice
Having specialized knowledge of a particular area of law is vital to performance and outcome of your matter. When a matter involves more than one area of law as many do, having the resources or the ability to confer with other counsel also may prove helpful. Consider a full service firm where attorneys in different areas of practice routinely have the ability to work together on different subject matters similar to different specialized doctors treating the same patient.
The best time to retain/interview for an attorney is when you are not in need of one. Selecting an attorney that will work well for you is a process. You want an attorney who can explain the complexities of the law in a manner, which is clear and easily understandable to you. Equally importantly, the attorney must understand your needs and what you wish to gain out of the relationship and case. Attorney/client is a relationship that must be built on trust, honesty and reliability. For example, if you have additional questions, how long or in what manner will these questions be addressed? Simply put, how long will it take the attorney to return your phone call?
You may think you want the loud obnoxious bull representing you in a court of law. In most cases, it is just the opposite. You want an attorney who is a relationship builde and that is well liked both in and outside of the courtroom. The overwhelming numbers of legal cases are settled outside of court. An attorney with patience and preserverance will be able to negotiate the best possible deal on your behalf.
You want an attorney who sees you more than just a number. Realistically, relationships are built over time.
Most lawyers have an area of law they are passionate about. Ask the lawyer why he or she went to law school. It may give insight as to whether or not to retain a particular lawyer.
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss “Legal tips for selling your home.”
Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.
For questions, contact Victoria at [email protected].
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice.