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How To Choose A Lawyer

How To Choose A Lawyer

Choosing a lawyer can often feel like an insurmountable obstacle when seeking professional legal advice. It is similar to but not exactly like finding a good mechanic or physician for your family. It is similar in the respect that you want a highly qualified, experienced and well rounded individual who makes you feel comfortable and who does good work. It's different because legal representation is often highly specialized and it should only be sought for emergency situations, such as wrongful death or personal injury, or for tasks you are unable to do yourself such as complicated estate planning or forming business partnerships.

Where ASE certified mechanics can often work on any automobile in all circumstances, lawyers tend to be much more highly specialized. The first step in choosing a lawyer is determine exactly what you need to have done immediately and clearly articulate that when conducting your search. The scope of a lawyer's specialization can range anywhere from employment law, contract law to divorce or personal injury. It is best to narrow your search by clearly understanding your issue and then going online or using word-of-mouth networking to get references.

As with any white-collar profession, and with most situations in life, never judge a book by its cover. Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes and there is no way to determine whether a lawyer is good or bad based off characteristics such as race or age. It also does no good to look at the law school as some of the best institutions in the country can still put out a bad lawyer who conducts shady practices. The size of the legal practice is also irrelevant because the two-person shop on the edge of town may have more real world legal experience and better word-of-mouth than the large law firm in the middle of downtown.

Lawyers have been trained specifically to understand the nuances and intricacies of language and how they relate to the law. After you narrow down your list and have a few names to meet, treat these meetings like interviews. At the end of the day choosing a lawyer can be based on experience but also on character and your gut feeling. Almost all lawyers will conduct a free initial consultation and so this is also the time to interview the individual to see what kind of feeling you get regarding honesty and discretion. If they use doublespeak and are unwilling to clearly articulate how much it will cost and only offer reassurances then you might want to look elsewhere.

The Internet has become an invaluable resource when looking for expertise in various fields. Whether it is a landscaping subcontractor, mechanic, physician or lawyer; if a consumer feels they've been misled or misrepresented they often will go online and voice their displeasure. These are some the best references that can be attained because they are unbiased and anonymous. Unfortunately references provided by a professional can often be biased and only show the good side. Most municipalities also provide access to legal cases online which can be researched by potential clients. Ask a lawyer what cases they participated in and how they turned out and cross check these with online resources.

Legal representation can be quite expensive but if you choose a lawyer who is reputable and honest then it can be money well spent. Some lawyers will try to use a winning smile and an affable personality to get close to clients. They will reassure them that everything will be okay by patting them on the back with one hand and stealing their wallet with the other. Fortunately, as with most industries, this is the exception rather than the rule but if you stay professional and maintain a businesslike demeanor at all times you can guard against this type of individual.

Choosing a lawyer is a twofold process based on your instinct and your intelligence. Use your intelligence to ask questions, examine references, network, and conduct research. Use your instinct to gauge their character, honesty and judge whether or not they have your best interest at heart. It is still possible to choose a lawyer who is only interested in your money but normally these motives will be made very clear early in the process and if you get that feeling then move on immediately. Any professional must meet a certain ethical standard and conduct themselves in a businesslike manner so look for a lawyer who exudes professionalism and you will be off to a good start.

Image by: Julia Manzerova