Choosing an Attorney

  • February 12, 2017
  • By: GreenPath Financial Wellness

If you need legal help, the right attorney can make a huge difference in your outcome. A good attorney will truly work for you and will fight for your rights. But how do you find the right one? Here are some things to consider before choosing an attorney.

Experience and Background Matter

Make sure you hire an attorney with the right kind of experience. Many only handle certain types of cases. Your attorney needs to know the ins and outs of the law that governs your problem. A bankruptcy attorney, for instance, may not be knowledgeable about landlord and tenant laws. General practitioners, however, can often handle a variety of issues. This could save you from having to choose several different attorneys if you have more than one matter to resolve.

Types of Attorneys

Here are some of the ways attorneys specialize:

  • Bankruptcy – help people find debt relief.
  • Civil Rights – defend your constitutional rights.
  • Consumer – handle cases involving unlawful business practices.
  • Corporate – handle commercial transactions.
  • Criminal – defend people accused of breaking the law.
  • Elder Law – work on cases that affect older people and their families.
  • Employment – protect workers’ rights.
  • Family – deal with laws about family matters.
  • Immigration – represent people who wish to become citizens.
  • Patent – deal with intellectual property.
  • Medical Malpractice – investigating potential mistakes made by doctors.
  • Personal Injury – help people who have been injured.
  • Product Liability – work on products that cause harm.
  • Real Estate – negotiate property sales.
  • Tax – specialize in tax laws.
  • Trusts, Wills, Estates and Probate – advise clients on wills and transfer of wealth.

Personality Isn’t as Important

Choose your attorney based on experience, not personality. While it’s nice if your attorney is kind, it’s not crucial. What matters is that he or she knows exactly how to handle your issue. An experienced attorney should understand your situation instantly and know what to do. If the attorney needs to look up the law or study prior cases, he or she may not have the experience to handle your case.

Do Your Research

Choosing the right attorney can take a long time. If you have no references, you will have to make phone calls. It’s important to ask questions about how much the services will cost you. Is there a retainer fee? Is it a flat fee, or will you be charged an hourly rate? Are your telephone calls included in hourly charges? What kinds of expenses are you expected to pay? Referral services can narrow your search.

Get Organized

The more organized you are, the better your attorney will be able to serve you. Keep all records. Put everything in writing.

While you should expect your attorney to respond to you, you must also realize that these matters take time. Don’t call every day or expect a return call right way. Attorneys are often out of the office in court proceedings. However, you should receive a return call within two or three days.

Choosing An Attorney

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