Table of Contents
No matter what kind of lawyer you’re in need of, whether searching for attorneys in Wilkes-Barre, PA or anywhere else, it’s important to do your research. You’ll not only be sharing confidential information with the one you choose, but you’ll be entrusting them to give you the best legal advice possible to help you get through a situation you wouldn’t be able to deal with on your own.
Here’s what you should look for in order to find a good lawyer who will be your advocate, fighting on your behalf using ethical, reasonable and the most cost-effective means.
Someone Who Specializes in the Expertise You Need
According to the latest National Lawyer Population survey by the American Bar Association, there are over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. Of course, attorneys tend to specialize in certain areas of law since it is such an extensive field of study, similar to medicine. If your legal situation is specific to a business you own, you’ll want to look for someone with experience in corporate law. There are also lawyers who focus on family law such as divorce and adoption, civil rights law, estate planning, bankruptcy, accidents and injuries, and criminal among many other specialties.
Creating a short list of lawyers that specialize in the expertise you need to handle your particular situation is the first step in finding the right one.
A Reputable Background
Before you schedule a consultation with any lawyer, you should do a Google search on his or her name. Search through any online reviews, reading any comments you might find in regard to their services. Be sure to visit the bar association website for your state checking to see whether the attorney has had any malpractice allegations, misconduct charges or complaints against them.
Once the attorneys on your list have been cleared, it’s time to look into their experience. You may be able to find out with a phone call, or a free consultation. Ask if they’ve handled your type of legal matter in the past and what their success has been. The more experience the better if it’s a serious matter or large dispute, otherwise if the situation is fairly simple, you may be able to save some money by hiring one that’s less experienced but has the appropriate skills.
Comfort and Communication
Even if the attorney has the necessary experience, if you don’t feel comfortable with that person it’s not going to be a good fit. The ability to foster an open relationship will allow you to share confidential information about your case in the most honest way possible. If you can’t do that, the lawyer won’t be able to do the best job possible.
A lawyer with good communication skills that responds promptly to inquiries is key too, particularly if the issue is long term, like a contentious divorce. You don’t want someone who doesn’t respond to emails or phone calls in a timely manner. Test this by emailing questions soon after your initial visit, noting how long it takes for follow up. If the attorney responds quickly and with appropriate answers, he or she could be a good fit. On the other hand, if it takes days to hear back, you probably want to move on.
Of course, money matters too. While you don’t necessarily want the cheapest lawyer, you probably want a good value. One characteristic of a good attorney is that they are honest and forthright about their fee structure, and that those fees are appropriate. Ask if they bill by the hour or if it will be a flat fee, and make sure the price they charge is worth the money for the case.