When you are in trouble with the law, you probably don’t want to skimp on the expense when hiring a lawyer. But does the most expensive lawyer mean the best? Not necessarily.
That’s why it’s important to consider all the factors in choosing the best law firm for your needs. Every case is unique and will need the services of a very differently experienced lawyer.
It’s also not as easy as picking the first law firm that shows up on your Google search. If you spend some time and effort picking the right law firm for your case, you will find it well worth it.
Keep reading to find out some criteria that you should be using to choose the best law firm for you or your loved one.
What Kind of Experience Do They Have?
This is the most important thing you will look at when hiring a lawyer. You will probably not hire someone who just finished law school and is starting on their career path. They won’t have much experience or knowledge to bring and might even adversely affect your case.
Make sure you hire a lawyer with a long history of fighting court cases like yours. It’s not just enough that they are experienced in law in general, but they are experienced in fighting a similar case. This will give you solace that they can do a good job when it comes to fighting your court battle.
What Is Their Reputation Like?
This is easy to research in today’s world of online profiles, websites, and more. You can browse online through review sites or testimonials shared on the lawyer’s website.
Or you could ask the lawyer for referrals, so you can speak to previous customers and see if they had a good experience with the lawyer.
However you do your research, it’s important to know your lawyer’s reputation. What do others think of them in the field?
Are they considered a fighter who wins cases and tries until the bitter end? Or are they too apathetic and soft?
Do They Fit Within Your Budget?
Lawyers aren’t cheap. That is a given. But depending on their experience and reputation, each lawyer has a fee that might or might not fall in your budget. If you are paying out of pocket for the lawyer or have very little savings to pull from, you will want to find a lawyer that doesn’t get you into too much debt.
What Is Their Fee Structure Like?
Lawyers have incentives and fee structures to accommodate client needs. For example, they might have a setup where you don’t have to pay until they win the case. Or they might have a way for you to pay in installments with a deposit paid upfront.
If it’s a road accident case, then you might be able to get your insurance company to pay for the lawyer, especially if it’s not your fault (read more here). But otherwise, you will have to pay out of pocket and the fee structure should suit your situation.
Does Their Personality Jibe With Yours?
You might think this is an odd point to include in this list, but it’s one of the most important things to consider. If your personality and characteristics don’t match with the lawyer’s and if you don’t have a connection with them, it could result in issues in the future.
Either you will be too uncomfortable to share your thoughts with them or ask them questions, or you won’t be able to trust them completely with your case and its outcome.
In the end, you want to be friends with your lawyer, not just strangers who came together for a bitter reason.
How Available Are They for Calls and Meetings?
When you choose a lawyer that’s quite popular or well-known, a common problem is that you can never get hold of them. They are always too busy dealing with all their other clients or cases.
You don’t want something like this to happen to you. It will increase your stress and anxiety levels if you can’t get a hold of your lawyer to ask big or small questions.
Another thing to enquire about in the first meeting is communication tools. Are they okay with you calling them? Or do they prefer to text instead?
What are their hours like and are they comfortable with impromptu calls in the evening or early morning? Do they use email, text, or both?
These communication style questions will give you a good idea of how you can get a hold of them. When you are feeling scared or anxious about the case, contacting your lawyer for solace will be quite helpful and prevent you from doing something stupid that could ruin your chances of winning.
Do You Feel Like They Have a Good Grasp on Your Case?
Your lawyer will be fighting your case from start to finish, so they should understand where you are coming from and what your case is about. This requires the lawyer to spend chunks of time chatting with you, the witnesses, and anyone involved in the case and writing extensive case notes.
When you speak with the lawyer, even at the first meeting, you should get a sense that they understand your case and can predict how your case will play out in court.
Are They Based in Your Area or Local to the Region?
This is a mistake that some folks make when hiring lawyers. They end up hiring one from out of state who doesn’t have an intimate knowledge of the local laws, customs, or beliefs. This weakness or ignorance could result in negative consequences for your case.
You want to hire someone local to the region you are in, or where the case is being fought, so they can bring this local knowledge to fight your case better.
What Is Their Success Rate Like?
When you are checking through the reputation of the lawyer, you will also want to know what their success rate is like. Many lawyers like to bandy about their success rates on billboards and advertising because they use it to entice new customers.
You can only rely upon their word that their success rate is what they say it is. But you can also research the side to determine how often the lawyer succeeds with their cases. Speaking to previous customers or reviewing old case files can also be helpful.
Do They Have Experience or Expertise in Your Case Area?
There are dozens of reasons why people end up going to court. It could be a custody issue or an employment injury. Or maybe it’s because you were in a drunk driving accident.
Whatever the reason, you will want to find a lawyer with expertise in fighting cases like yours. You don’t want a divorce lawyer when you are fighting a road accident case, and vice versa.
The more expertise a lawyer has in a certain case area, the more experience and knowledge they will be able to bring to it. And the more success they will be able to garner.
They might be able to use the knowledge from previous cases to bring an important fact to your case and win it. It can be as simple as that sometimes.
What Is Their Communication Style Like?
Some lawyers are overbearing, loud, and brash. Arrogant and overconfident, they rule over everyone by speaking over everyone else.
In other cases, lawyers are quiet but not pushovers, using their silence and skill to fight the case rather than foolhardiness. Every lawyer will have a different communication style; some of it will jibe with you, and some might not.
This is why you will want to meet face-to-face with a lawyer before hiring them because you want to get a sense of their personality and whether you can work with them long-term.
Start getting irritated or annoyed with the lawyer in the first few minutes of being around them. No matter how much expertise they have, you are not going to have a good working relationship with them. Better to find someone else with lesser expertise but who you can be more friendly with.
Do They Seem Dedicated to Your Case?
You would imagine that all lawyers would be dedicated to their client’s interests. But that’s not always the case.
Some of them are just in it for the money, and you will feel like you are just another case to them, without any feeling or meaning behind it.
Find a lawyer who makes you feel like they truly care about your case and about winning the court battle, in whatever way possible. This will give you the confidence to keep going with the court case without feeling like you want to search for another lawyer.
What Are Their Negotiation Skills Like?
One of the most important skills a lawyer needs to have is negotiation mastery. Many cases don’t end up going to court but are negotiated or mediated before they even get there.
A lawyer with good negotiating skills will be able to get a better deal for you overall than one without such skills. How can you tell if a lawyer has good negotiation skills or not? Don’t just rely upon their word.
They need to be assertive and diplomatic when negotiating. They shouldn’t be overbearing or rude, but calm and flexible in the way they speak to you and your relatives. You will see whether they have these qualities when you first meet them.
What Is Their Empathy Level Like?
You also want the lawyer to have good listening skills and the ability to listen more than they speak. The more they listen, the more information they can gather about your case.
They should also respond to any questions you have quickly and without delay, reassuring you when you need it or giving you the confidence to go on when you need that. Your lawyer will end up almost like your therapist, as you will need a strong support system around you when going through such a difficult time in your life.
If they aren’t empathic enough, they won’t know how to console or build you up when needed. It’s not just knowledge about the law that you need your lawyer to have, but also other interpersonal skills.
Otherwise, you could hire ChatGPT or an AI bot to fight your case for you.
The Best Law Firm Will Be Different for Each Individual Case
After going through all the points above, your chosen lawyer would be quite different from someone else’s. But the best law firm will be able to help you fight your court battle in a way that suits you and your specific situation. And that’s essentially what you need.
Continue browsing through related articles on legal matters on our website and grow your knowledge base.