Five Things to Look For When Hiring an Attorney, Part 1: Experience
You need a lawyer. Whatever your legal issue, it is uniquely yours. You want a lawyer who can handle your problem as expertly, inexpensively, and as efficiently as possible. What traits should you look for in the lawyer who would be best suited to assist you?
While there are many factors that come into play when choosing a lawyer, one of the most important is experience – experience the lawyer and their law firm have in handling matters similar to those which you are facing.
For the first installment of this five-part series on hiring an attorney, I will discuss how important experience is when it comes to choosing a lawyer for your unique legal issue.
Questions to Ask
There can be no substitute for experience. Just as you would not necessarily trust an inexperienced mechanic with your vehicle, or an inexperienced caretaker for your children, you are more likely to trust an experienced lawyer – for good reason.
But how do you find a lawyer with the right experience for your issue? It starts with asking the right questions. The questions you need to ask as you investigate what lawyer is best for you should include:
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- Have they handled cases in the area in which you find yourself seeking legal representation?
- How many similar cases have they handled?
- Are they familiar with the law that governs the issue facing you?
Other areas of inquiry to consider:
- Did they obtain their legal education at a reputable, accredited and well-respected law school?
- Are they respected by their peers?
- Have they been asked to provide continuing legal education presentations for other lawyers?
- Have they been chosen by their peers to serve in leadership roles in various Bar activities and organizations?
- Does their firm have a deep bench of legal talent with a collection of lawyers, paralegals, and other support staff who are capable of handling the details of even the most complex aspects of your legal issues?
All of these questions should be researched and investigated before you choose a lawyer to represent you, no matter what the legal issue might be.
The Importance of Experience
Experience matters. Before you make a call to the loudest voice on television or the flashiest, most high-tech ad on the Internet, look beyond the slick marketing and do your research about the real experience the lawyer you are considering has and that of his or her entire law firm.
Your legal issue needs to be handled by someone who truly understands the problem and can help you reach a satisfactory solution. The lawyer’s experience may be the most important element in determining whom you should hire.
Before you contact a lawyer, do your research and explore his or her experience so you can make an informed decision.