Whether you are getting a will done or setting up a trust, buying or selling real estate or getting a divorce, it is important to select the best lawyer possible. To find out what tips you can use to make sure that you are picking the right one for you.
Many legal firms offer an initial consultation free of charge. Take advantage of this. Use the meeting to determine whether you feel the lawyer is sincere about looking after you and forthcoming. Instinctively, some people have the ability to determine an individual’s character within a few minutes of interacting with the person; however, there are a few personality traits that can also tip you off.
For example, is the lawyer looking you in the eye when speaking with you, or is he or she looking at the ground? According to some body language experts, people who don’t maintain eye contact usually have a problem with the truth. Also, ask what kind of cases he or she has litigated in the past.
Ask the attorney about your case’s chance of success or failure. If the lawyer sounds unusually optimistic and doesn’t tell you any of the risks or downplays the costs associated with the case, he or she is probably not being honest with you. Remember, there are downsides and risks to almost every case!
Prior to entering into any formal relationship it is important to feel secure in the knowledge that your lawyer is an honest individual. After all, there’s nothing worse then being in an extended court battle and not having confidence in the person on your side – particularly one who is willing and able to communicate your chances of prevailing. It would be equally disturbing to find out that the attorney representing you is hurting your case because of his or her questionable reputation or methods.
Thorough and Responsive
The initial meeting or conversation with the attorney can also help you to determine whether he or she is detail oriented and will be responsive to your needs. Again, your instincts should serve as your guide. Be sure to ask the attorney if it’s OK to call them throughout the case to discuss any concerns you may have. If he or she balks at the idea, it may indicate that you’ll have trouble relaying your thoughts and obtaining answers to your questions once the case is up and running.Other questions that should be asked include:
- Will I be given periodic updates on the status of the case in writing or by phone?
- Will they be the main point of contact, or will communications be delegated to a paralegal?
There is nothing worse then having an attorney who won’t respond to your inquiries, or hear your concerns. To that end, be sure to retain an attorney who is communicative.
In Your Price Range
Finding the right attorney for you means finding one who provides services you can afford. With that in mind, all individuals should inquire about costs at the outset of the initial meeting. After all, it would be horrifying to find out (after the fact) that the attorney is charging you per letter, per hearing, or in some other manner that only encourages him or her to drag the case out and to rack up fees.
Also, try to obtain an estimate of what the case will cost to litigate in writing. Then, again in writing, try to secure a contract that will spell out the maximum costs associated with trying your case. This will prevent any unwanted surprises.
What is a “fair” price? That depends upon your individual legal tasks. For example, some property conveyancing typically range from $700 to $1,200, while complex matters can easily cost much more. Simple commercial transactions, such as buying a local business, often range from $2,000 to $4,000, but if the process takes longer than expected, this will also increase the price. The same is true in a divorce proceeding: if your soon-to-be “ex” doesn’t contest, the matter could be solved for a few thousand dollars, but if a drawn out fight ensues, it could easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.
Most attorneys looking to avoid disagreements with their clients will insist that a contract be signed by both parties at the outset. If your attorney does not offer a contract, make sure that you obtain something in writing, preferably on letterhead stating likely and maximum charges.
Seek Those With Experience
While it is important to have an attorney that you can trust, it is equally important that he or she has extensive experience in the area of law for which you require their services. For example, you should you use an attorney with estate planning experience to draft your will, a divorce attorney to draft divorce papers and a trial lawyer to defend you in a criminal case. General practitioners are good for basic real estate transactions, or other non-complex matter, but their lack of detailed knowledge and experience in a given field can hurt your case. So, its important to check on their particular experience in the field you require assistance with as mentioned earlier.
Consider the Size of the Firm You’d Be Dealing With
There are advantages to hiring a lawyer from a small firm. In most cases, you receive more personalized, prompt attention. In addition, the lawyer representing you will probably have a fairly large amount of time to dedicate to your case. This may not be the situation at large firms, where attorneys must often juggle numerous cases and may have many responsibilities to the firm and its partners that could draw their attention away from your needs.
However, large firms also have advantages. After all, many judges and opposing attorneys respect large reputable firms for the cases they’ve won, and their ability. Large firms also typically have greater resources in terms of money and manpower to research your case and to craft strategy.
In short, weigh the pros and cons of having a small or a large firm to try your case before signing a contract.
Where to Look for a Lawyer
There are several sources for finding a lawyer with the right qualifications to represent you.
In addition to the phone book and on line directories, its also a good idea to ask a friend to recommend a lawyer, they tend to tell you quickly ones to avoid which can be insightful.
The Bottom Line
Selecting the right lawyer can make your case, while selecting the wrong one can doom it, so do your homework, look at their social media pages and check their Google & directory reviews.
If you are looking for legal representation on a family law matter in Sydney, The City Weekly team endorse the work of Justice Family Lawyers and are Sydney Family Legal firm local residents trust. You can learn more about them and view their website here: justicefamilylawyers.com.au