Hiring A Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer is an important decision. Just like purchasing any other product or service, you should do your research before making that decision. Here are some things you should know about any lawyer you are considering hiring:

Licensing and Discipline: Make sure the lawyer is currently registered as a lawyer and check their disciplinary history with the Office of Court Administration.

Reputation: Make sure the lawyer has a positive reputation among their peers and clients. You may be able to learn more about your lawyer on the internet by reading reviews and testimonials on the lawyer’s own website or other websites.

Experience: You should be sure your lawyer has the experience needed to handle your type of case or situation. A lawyer who drafts business contracts may not be the right lawyer for a medical malpractice case. Usually, you can get this information from the lawyer’s website. Lawyers often have informative websites offering details about their practice. Try to find a lawyer with at least three to five years of experience practicing the type of law you need help with and make sure they practice in that area of the law currently. Many lawyers also have profiles on social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, where you may be able to find useful information.

Personality: Aside from experience and expertise, you should choose a lawyer you are comfortable with. If the lawyer makes you uncomfortable in any way, you should probably not have that lawyer represent you. In the first meeting with the lawyer, pay attention to whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer and whether you think the two of you could work well together.

Communication: You will want a lawyer who is a good communicator and who has the time and willingness to keep you updated about your case. You should ask the lawyer when you can expect a return telephone call or a response to an email. If the lawyer seems reluctant to communicate with you on a regular basis, it may be a red flag.

Organizational Skills: You will also want a lawyer who is well organized and on top of his/her cases. When you go to the lawyer’s office for an initial consultation, pay attention to whether the office appears organized, neat and well-run.

Confidence and Gut Instincts: In the end, you should use your common sense and gut instincts when deciding who to hire. Your relationship can sometimes last several years, and will require a good working relationship and mutual trust. You want to choose a lawyer who inspires confidence and who you feel will do the best job for you.

Legal Editor: Michael E. Zuller, April 2016

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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