Whether you have moved across the state or across the country, you will want to familiarize yourself with local law firms and potentially choose a lawyer to work with, should you need one. Most likely, a Google search for “Lawyer Near Me” will yield an overwhelming number of results without much help as to the quality of the lawyer. How do you narrow down the options and choose a lawyer who best meets your needs? This guide provides you with tips to help you find the right lawyer for you in your new community.
Experienced or Not?
Many law firms focus on one area of the law; for example, personal injury, divorce, estate planning, auto accidents, or criminal defense. If you have a specific need, you will want to seek a law firm with an emphasis in your type of case. If you don’t have a specific need, you may find it more valuable to develop a working relationship with a law firm that has experience in many different practice areas – usually called a general practice firm. Using the same law firm for all of your legal needs is not only convenient, it also helps develop a direct relationship and significant trust between you and your lawyers, and makes transitioning issues seamless.
What makes a location convenient differs from person to person. Drive time, traffic, proximity to public transportation, and parking all influence whether or not a location is convenient. Other factors that influence convenience for many people include whether the office is in a high rise building or not, if it is near other destinations they frequent and even which side of the street the office is on. When you choose a lawyer, you want to make sure that their office is in a location that is easy to access so that you can easily meet with your lawyer based on your definition of convenient.
Not all law firms offer free consultations. When you are confronted with a legal issue, then you will want to interview a lawyer before you retain him/her. Initial consultations can help you decide if a lawyer is the right match for your legal needs and often allows time to explain your facts to get a better understanding of your case and your goals.
Read Reviews & Understand Their Limitations
Online reviews from Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp can help you identify highly rated attorneys at the outset and help you determine if a firm is right for you. Online reviews, however, may not be an accurate reflection of the firm or all of the lawyers in the firm, and sometimes are posted by opposing clients (who may be disgruntled). Google, Facebook and Yelp have control over reviews posted on their websites and can influence the reviews and ratings you see at any time.
Once you have narrowed down the lawyers you want to visit or set up a phone call with, come prepared; perhaps make a list of questions. Some suggested questions are below:
- What is the lawyer’s fee structure? Is it hourly, contingent, or flat fee?A firm may offer one fee structure or many. Regardless, it is better to know ahead of time what you can expect to avoid surprises later.
- What experience does the lawyer have in this area of the law? Does the lawyer you are speaking to have more experience in specific areas of practice than in others? Does the lawyer have experience in the situations in which you may utilize them? If so, how many years of experience or how many cases have they handled in these topics?
- What is the lawyer’s success rate? This question can help you get a feeling for a lawyer’s experience and ability to win cases for clients. No lawyer can guarantee a result, but should be able to share success stories in cases similar to yours. If their success rate is not what you expect it to be for your specific case, but you otherwise feel like the lawyer would be a good fit for you, feel free to ask for an explanation about their success rate.
- Does the lawyer have enough time to handle your case? Most successful lawyers are always busy, so choosing someone requires a balance of someone who is busy, but feels that he or she can devote time to your needs as well.
When choosing a lawyer in your new community, you want to find someone you can trust. At Van Siclen, Stocks & Firkins, our attorneys will meet with you to evaluate your needs and design an approach to your case that is customized to your unique circumstances with a focus on your goals. Our approach both in and out of the courtroom has created a legacy of success in a variety of practice areas. Our commitment to you is not just words, its a philosophy forged from hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering dedication to excellence.