Avoiding five common mistakes when hiring an attorney: Tips for a smooth process
Hiring an attorney isn’t something you expect to do in life, but things happen and you may suddenly find yourself in need of one.
An attorney can be needed for a wide array of reasons, from simple to more complex cases and charges. No matter the reason, one thing that remains constant is that you want to be sure you pick the right one for your needs.
Here’s a look at five of the most common mistakes people make when hiring an attorney, allowing you to be aware of what not to do.
1) Assuming an attorney has experience
For those outside of the legal field, it can be rather intimidating to wade through the options and figure out the different types of law and the attorneys in each area. This can lead people to make assumptions that don’t prove true. Not every attorney out there has enough or the right kind of experience to represent you. It’s never wise to automatically assume they do. Instead, ask about their credentials.
Some of the questions you can ask include:
- What school they got their law degree from
- How long they have been practicing
- How many clients they have represented
- How many cases have they won vs. loses
- What area of the law do they specialize in
- Do they have specific experience with your type of case
- Can they provide referrals
2) Not following up with referrals
Building upon the above-mentioned tip, it’s not enough to simply be handed a referral, now it’s up to you to follow up on it. That means calling each person and asking about their experience with the attorney. This is a great way to get insight into what you could expect should you choose to hire an attorney. Let the referrals know you want to hear the good and the bad so you’re prepared and can make an informed decision.
3) Hiring the first attorney you speak to
It can be very tempting to hire the first attorney you speak to just to get it done and over with. While they truly may be the best person for the job in the end, it’s always smart to meet with a couple of attorneys and get a sense of how they would approach your case. It also gives you a chance to see which one you “click” with best.
4) Not asking about costs before hiring the attorney
Just because you have a good feeling about an attorney and they have the experience you need doesn’t mean they will fit in your budget. Ask about the fees during the initial consultation, being sure to address any potential additional fees. Besides the total cost, also ask when payment is due and how it can be paid.
Understanding the costs of hiring an attorney can be a real eye-opener, as people don’t often realize just how pricey it can be and what the costs include/don’t include.
5) Not asking enough questions regarding your case
When it comes to your case, there’s no such thing as stupid questions. You should feel comfortable asking any question you want and as many as you want. This is your life and your livelihood that hangs in the balance so you want to be sure you understand what is happening. If your attorney puts limits on the number of questions you can ask or makes you feel like you are an inconvenience, they aren’t the one for you.
Head into the process well-informed
Using these tips will ensure you know the common mistakes to avoid when hiring an attorney. This means you’ll head into the process well-prepared and ready to find the best lawyer out there.