As a Lawyer, I obviously know what I would look for in picking an Attorney. Unlike picking a good doctor, money becomes a large factor, especially in that no such thing as “legal insurance” exists (yet). The beauty of Medical Insurance is that you can pick and choose any doctor, as long as they are covered by your insurance. However, in picking your lawyer, you want the very best… that you can afford.
People are ofttimes scared to meet with attorneys. They have heard the horror stories of getting charged double or even triple what you expected. Because treading the legal waters is so dangerous, Attorneys do have the luxury to bill at high levels even during a recession. However, maybe this article will give you the tools you need to find the right attorney for you.
First, you need an Attorney that practices in your area. However, if you have a previous relationship with an attorney that you like, say a lawyer who handled your divorce, or drafted your father’s Will, then you can be comfortable in the fact that here you at least have a trustworthy source who can point you in the right direction.
If you do not have a lawyer relationship then the next thing to do would be to either look online or call the Bar Association of the State which you live in. Typically, bar associations will have a list of attorneys in different areas that they can refer you too.
Ultimately, the type of case you have will determine the type of attorney you need and how you will be paying for their services. Here is a quick background on the different types of ways attorneys can charge you for their legal services:
(1) If you have a Personal Injury case (a case involving a car accident, slip and fall, etc. and you were NOT at fault) then you can find an attorney who would be willing tot ake your case on Contingency. A Contingency fee is when the attorney agrees to take your case and only take a percentage of whatever the net recovery is. So if you recover Zero dollars, the attorney recovers Zero dollars. If you recover $100.00, the attorney will take “x” percentage of that amount.
(2) Usually in Criminal cases, Immigration cases (not all but most) and some other unique cases, an attorney will quote you a Flat Fee amount. This flat fee will denote a fixed amount that you will need to pay for this legal service. People typically like this better than the Hourly fee, because a flat fee is fixed and they know exactly how much it is they will pay.
(3) The Retainer/Hourly fee for attorneys is the most typical in litigation cases. This is when a lawyer or law firm charges you on a per hour basis for the work they do. This means every minute spent doing something is a minute billed to you for your case. This could be a phone call, drafting of a legal document, or meetings with Opposing Counsel for your case.
At the end of the day, I personally think you want to go with a lawyer you feel comfortable with. Upon meeting them if you get a good feeling and you can afford their fees, then go with that feeling.
Best of luck. Of course… you could always also call us!