It’s not easy to trust your future to someone else, especially when it comes to important decisions like choosing a lawyer.
However, lawyers play an essential role in our justice system, and knowing how to choose the right one can be just as important as knowing your legal rights and responsibilities in court.
To help you choose the best lawyer for your needs, take a look at these six questions to ask yourself when deciding on which attorney will represent you.
1) The type of lawyer you need
Choosing the right lawyer for your case will depend on the type of law you need help with.
For example, if you are accused of driving under the influence or DUI and you need a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense (also called criminal law), then choosing a DUI defense lawyer would be your best bet.
If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer, it is advisable to find one who has experience dealing with family law matters and can advise you about property division, child custody agreements, spousal support, alimony payments and more.
Divorce lawyers also specialize in prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements.
Family lawyers can also help when drafting wills or trusts as well as handling estate planning needs like probate filings or even trust administration cases when someone dies without having a will.
2) The lawyer’s experience
If you’re looking for a lawyer, you’re likely in need of legal advice. It can be difficult to find the perfect one because they have many different specialties.
But if you’re looking for someone who specializes in your specific case (e.g., divorce law), then it will be much easier to find one that fits your needs.
Once you’ve found a few potential lawyers, check their website or Google them to see what kind of experience they’ve had and what cases they’ve dealt with.
For example, is there anything on their website about their past cases or clients? Does this sound like an area that interests them and would fit your needs?
3) The size of the firm
If you’re deciding between two lawyers for the same case, one of the factors you might consider is the size of their firm.
For example, if you need an expert in international law, a larger firm might be better because they have more resources than a small firm.
But if you’re looking for general counsel with experience in corporate transactions or commercial litigation, then it may be better to go with a smaller firm.
The type of legal representation you want: Lawyers at different firms offer different services and specialties, so it’s worth understanding what your needs are before choosing a lawyer.
Are you looking for someone who handles immigration cases? Or are there specific areas of law that interest you like criminal defense or bankruptcy cases?
Do you prefer someone who focuses on family-related issues like child custody cases and adoptions, or do you want them to represent your company in labor disputes?
4) The location of the firm
It may not seem like an important factor at first glance, but the location of your lawyer’s office can be a huge influence on how smoothly your case moves forward.
The closer their office is to the courthouse or other places you need to go for court appearances and other business related matters, the less time you’ll spend traveling.
If you live in a small town with only one law firm and need immediate assistance from them, this is less of an issue.
However, if you’re considering hiring a larger firm that has offices all over the country, it becomes more relevant.
A larger firm will usually have staff located near courthouses in various cities so that when you need something done quickly, they’re there to help without wasting any time.
5) The fees
If you’re looking for a lawyer and don’t have much money to spend, it is best not to choose one based on price.
It is important that you make sure that your lawyer is good at what they do by researching them beforehand.
For example, if you are looking for someone who specializes in business law then it would be best not to hire someone who specializes in criminal law.
Your choice of lawyer should also depend on the issues that you need help with; whether this is bankruptcy or divorce.
You should also consider their level of experience when choosing a lawyer as this will ensure that they know what they are doing which could save time and stress later on down the line.
6) The payment structure
Lawyers can be paid in one of two ways: an hourly rate or as a retainer. Hourly rates are charged on the basis of time spent with the client while retainer fees are paid up front and allow the lawyer to take on more cases.
For example, if you are being sued for divorce and custody of your children, you may want someone who will work closely with you so that he or she can get to know your case inside and out.
If you are getting a traffic ticket, however, you might not need the same level of attention since it’s just going to go away once it is resolved.
Another way lawyers charge their clients is through what they call billable hours which is when they charge at an hourly rate plus expenses.
It does not matter whether or not they have worked for this hour; if there is no profit from it then there is no fee for it either.
7) The retainer
A retainer is the amount of money you pay upfront before any legal services are provided.
The amount of your retainer should depend on the type and complexity of your case.
For example, if you want someone to represent you in court for an incident that occurred at work, it may be wise to have a higher retainer than if it were an issue with a landlord or family member.
But even if the matter is minor, such as a car accident where there was no personal injury or property damage, having some funds available can help smooth things out by expediting matters and making people feel like they are being taken care of.
It’s also important to note how long the retainer will last.
Some lawyers will charge their clients monthly instead of taking one large sum up front (i.e., annual fee).
That can help reduce fees because you’re paying over time rather than all at once