Deciding you need a lawyer is itself a big decision, one that forces you to make yet another important decision – who? Finding the right lawyer may feel like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be.
Before you start doing aimless internet searches, take a few minutes to clarify why you need a lawyer. Is your divorce becoming contentious? Are you starting a new business venture? Have you been accused of a crime? Determining the kind and scope of legal services you need will go a long way towards making the final selection.
Once you’ve determined what kind of lawyer you want, it’s time to find an individual or a firm that has expertise and experience in your desired field. Maybe you already know a lawyer or two socially; you should ask him or her for suggestions. Perhaps you have a family member or colleague who recently hired one they can recommend. But even if you can’t make a connection to an attorney through your existing personal network, there are still ways to find the right one.
There are a variety of objective, third-party services that can help you find as well as evaluate potential lawyers. Both Avvo and Martindale help you target legal professionals in the specialty area you need near you and they supply reviews from both clients and fellow attorneys. Next to suggestions from people you actually know, recommendations from other lawyers will be amongst the most valuable.
Law firms are pretty up-front about telling you what kinds of law they specialize in, and in the legal world, the experience is the best teacher. Look for someone with a long record of success with your legal issue. Everyone who goes to law school gains a common body of knowledge, but the real learning happens after graduation; nothing can beat real-life, on-point experience for honing a lawyer’s skills. You want a lawyer who has already handled cases just like yours – and comes out on top.
Once you have a short list of attorneys, it’s time to check out their or their firms’ websites. In this day and age, you can tell a lot about a company from its site. Is this a giant firm with offices on every continent, or a mom and pop style operation, or something in-between? Is this a warm and cozy firm that brings you tea and holds your hand, or is it an aggressive, litigious firm always geared up for a fight? Think about how your personal or professional situation might be better off in one than the other. Someone with modest assets doesn’t need an international conglomerate to draft a basic will, but a firm about to launch a new product around the globe might.
Now that you have just a few potential lawyers on your list, reach out and make appointments to meet them. Some lawyers are happy to do a free initial consultation so that you can each see if the business relationship will be a good fit. (Beware the high-powered lawyer who charges hundreds of dollars an hour just to hear your story; those high fees will likely continue if you hire him.) This is your chance to ask questions about experiences with other cases like yours. Most lawyers are happy to tell you about their successes and how long they’ve been in practice. All you have to do is ask.
You might wonder if you need a lawyer with an office near you, or if geography isn’t important. Although nowadays many business transactions can be conducted over the internet, legal issues don’t fall into this category. Not only might you need a local lawyer if your issue winds up in court, but lawyers are licensed to practice by individual states. And although some states recognize the licensing of other states, many do not. You don’t want to hire someone to be your lawyer if they cannot practice as a lawyer in your home state.
One other factor you should not overlook when hiring an attorney is cost. Some lawyers charge flat fees, for more routine services, but many charges by the hour (or fraction of the hour); a complicated legal issue will accrue larger bills because it takes longer to resolve. Know what you are willing to spend and don’t be afraid to ask questions about fees and payments.
Of paramount importance in choosing an attorney is trust. You must trust him to do everything he can to resolve your issue in your favor. You will have to share all the details of your legal situation, whether you are in the midst of a custody dispute or a commercial real estate transaction. Your lawyer is someone you may spend quite a bit of time with, so you need to be comfortable with him as a person.
Levoritz Law Firm can check off all of these boxes. With decades of combined experience across a wide spectrum of legal specialty areas, our attorneys are exceptionally well-reviewed by both clients and peers. We provide the responsiveness of a small firm with the expansive knowledge and experience seldom found outside large firms. Our clients are consistently satisfied with the “bang for the buck” we provide, with attorneys ready to provide for your needs small and large, domestic and international, personal and professional. Complicated problems demand sophisticated solutions. Click here to schedule a free initial consultation or call us at 718-942-4004.