What to Look for in an Attorney

Now that you’ve made a few initial consultations with local attorneys, you must choose one who is right for you. That means considering a host of factors before making your final decision.

Who you hire should ultimately come down to the answers attorneys provide to your questions and whether you feel that your goals align. The following are things you should look for when getting to know attorneys during initial consultations.

Does an Attorney’s Age Matter?

One of the most important characteristics you can look for in an attorney is experience. Of course, someone fresh out of law school will not have the same experience as an attorney with 20 years of experience.

However, that lawyer who has been on the scene for a while may not have a lot of experience dealing with a case like yours. That’s why it’s important to find out if the attorney has the right experience.

What Questions Should You Ask About Experience?

When it comes to finding out more about the lawyer’s track record, here are some questions that you should ask to learn more:

  • How much experience do you have handling cases like mine?
  • How recently have you handled a case like mine?
  • What were the results of those cases?

These will tell you a lot more about whether a lawyer can handle your case than just “how long have you been practicing?”

Something else to think about when it comes to the “experience” question is whether the attorney you are meeting with will handle your case personally. At some firms, a senior partner may meet with a client first, but then an associate will actually handle the day-to-day work. You should feel free to ask questions about the associates as well.

Do You Need a Lawyer With Trial Experience?

It’s hard not to have a picture in your head of the “ideal” lawyer being a bulldog in the courtroom. But the fact is that the vast majority of legal matters get nowhere close to a courtroom.

Instead, you should look for whether the lawyer can confidently outline what they think of your case and what your options are. For example, if you’ve been in a car accident and you are set on recovering millions at trial, but the lawyer advises you to take a smaller settlement and gives good reasons for doing so, you may need to adjust your expectations.

But on the other hand, if you are getting nowhere in settlement negotiations, and you have a strong case, it would be important to hire an attorney who has trial experience in cases like yours.

What Characteristics Should an Attorney Have?

While many characteristics will come down to what you are looking for, every attorney you meet with should be:

  • A good listener who wants to learn about your case and what is important to you
  • Knowledgeable about the relevant issues that apply to your case
  • Willing to explain things to you in a way that you understand and not just brush off your concerns
  • Confidence in their explanations to you about what you can expect

Of course, other characteristics, including those of a trial lawyer, may also be important to you. It is important that you are comfortable enough with the lawyer’s working style so that you feel you can have a productive attorney-client relationship.

Now What?

Once you decide on hiring an attorney, the next step is finding the right one for your situation. You can do that by checking out our free nationwide directory of lawyers. The directory contains the names and contact information of attorneys near you who have the right experience to protect your rights and help you find a resolution for your legal issue.  

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