Hiring a lawyer is not as simple as opening up the phone book and pointing. No matter what kind of legal issue you’re dealing with—rental property, child custody, divorce, car accident, business issues—you want a lawyer who has experience in your area and can resolve your issue (efficiently). You can find the right lawyer by interviewing (either by phone or email) them and asking these questions:
- How long have you practiced law?
- Do you have experience handling my kind of case? How many other cases of this type have you handled?
- Have you handled cases within the local court system?
- In your experience, what outcomes could happen in my case?
- Do you offer a initial consultation? (If not, what is the cost of the initial visit?) What information should I bring to the consultation?
- What is the cost of your services? Do I need to pay a retainer? Are there any expenses I need to cover as part of the cost?
- Will anyone else from your firm be handling aspects of my case?
- Do you offer alternatives other than going to court? (This can be especially true if you are going through a divorce. Ask if they offer these divorce alternatives.)
- How will you communicate with me? When should I expect the next communication?
- What do you need from me to proceed?
After you ask these questions, make sure you are clear about what the next step is and any financial arrangements that need to be made. Prepare for your initial consultation with your lawyer with these tips, and understand that your lawyer cannot see into the future. However, vetting lawyers and choosing the right lawyer with the right experience can make the future (at least your legal future) better.