It may be surprising to learn that most legal work is relatively routine. Being the right lawyer for the job often has less to do with complex legal theory or detailed analysis, and much more to do with knowing which form to fill out and which clerk will process it most quickly. Below are some general guidelines for choosing the right attorney for your business.
In general, the smaller the firm, the cheaper the attorney’s hourly rates. Solo practitioners usually have the lowest hourly rates. For this reason solo practitioners can be the best value for the majority of legal matters. In many cases even lesser experienced attorneys are often well suited for the broad range of legal work needed by many consumers.
Ask your friends or business acquaintances for references. This is by far the most common method of finding a reputable attorney and for good cause. If the attorney is keeping other clients happy, chances are they will keep you happy.
If you are unable to find an attorney for your case, use an online source, such as www.lawyersearchguide.com. Sites like lawyer search guide have vetted their featured attorneys and therefore offer some protection against unscrupulous attorneys. Avoid random advertisements like the yellow pages or the side of a bus if you can.
Develop a list of candidates that you are considering to hire. Always have options, as this will make you far less likely to make a poor decision.
Do Your Homework
Once you have developed your list of candidates, check your state bar website and investigate any prior history of discipline by the state bar. If an attorney you are considering has a prior history of dishonest acts, you may want to think twice about rendering his services. If an attorney has been disciplined, it is usually means that poor judgment has been exercised. This is not a trait you want from your attorney.
Check a professional listing site to get background information on your attorney. A good resource for such listings is the Matindale-Hubble Law Directory available at http://www.martindale.com/. The Martindale-Hubble Directory lists education, honors, and sometimes attorney ratings.
Finally, ask your attorney for a client list. Call some clients to see what they have to say about the attorneys work, the type of case, and the whether the result was satisfactory.
Trust Your Gut
The attorney-client relationship is a personal one. If you do not like the attorney, move on. There are many attorneys, and one will surely meet your criteria. If you do not feel comfortable with any aspect of your attorney whether it be her professionalism, demeaner, or attitude, it is best to move on since changing attorneys in the middle of litigation can be difficult.
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