You know all the jokes about lawyers being sharks? Well, mostly, they’re unfair. But there are some lawyers who have their wallet and not your case in mind.
Telling the difference between them and a good lawyer is easy. A good lawyer will ask you questions and get very involved with your case. If it’s a settlement involved-case, they won’t charge you a dime unless you win.
Does that description seem too abstract? Here’s your guide to finding Elle Woods-level lawyers in real life.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Before you hire a lawyer, you need to ask yourself a few things. First of all, why are you pursuing this legal case?
Is it motivated by need, like the need to pay medical bills? Or is it motivated by emotion? Both are acceptable, but it’s good to know where your intentions lie.
Cases based on emotion are those like divorce cases, where one parent is obviously a bad example for the children.
Need cases are more like accident settlements. Injury lawyers are some of the kindest out there and they really believe in getting you your quality of life back.
Second — how much can you pay? If it’s an injury law case, then that’s easy. Your legal fees will come out of your settlement or else you won’t pay any.
But other lawyers have retainer fees and the like. Make sure you stay in budget.
Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
Now that you have your feet firmly planted in your legal case, it’s time to ask these lawyers some questions. The first one is, what do you think my case is worth?
Or, do you think I have a case? You’ll know if you want to work with them or not, based on their answer. It’s fine to get a second opinion if one lawyer says no.
Second — ask them what their expertise with this type of case is. Can they tell you about another similar case that they won? Have they ever lost one like yours?
A good lawyer will be honest about their history.
Third — ask who else will work with them on your case. Do they have paralegals or partners? It’s normal for an attorney to have some help around the office.
Legal secretaries can do a lot, but don’t worry — they’re sworn to keep confidentiality.
Choosing Your Good Lawyer
Based on the above questions, you’ll begin to get an idea of the right lawyer for you. It’s important that they’re a good lawyer, but you have to like them too.
Keep records of everything, for your sanity’s sake and for the court. Your lawyer will do the same. It may be a good idea to invest in one of those paper scanners that feed one page at a time — like a big receipt scanner.
With those thoughts in mind, make sure to read this phone interview article too, before you make any calls.