Whether you’re working through estate administration for a friend or family member and have questions about probate, or you have been hurt in an accident or on the job and need assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney, hiring a lawyer can seem intimidating.
Typing “lawyers near me” into Google and calling the first law firm or solo practice attorney that pops up is risky, as you likely won’t know much about that lawyer’s expertise in the specific area of law you need. And, while most attorneys will be upfront with you about their legal specializations and types of cases they handle, there are some with little experience who may be less than transparent about their credentials.
Indeed, hiring a lawyer is a little bit like interviewing candidates for an essential job in your company. You want to choose a candidate who has the right experience and is an excellent fit for the job you’re offering. However, many people—unless they work in human resources or own their own business—have likely never conducted a hiring process.
That’s why today’s blog post offers some of our best tips on how to hire a lawyer.
Whether you decide to consult with one of our caring family law, estates and probate, or personal injury attorneys here at May, May & Zimmerman, or you go with another law firm, we want you to have confidence in the lawyer you ultimately hire so that your legal matter or case is handled with the proper care.
Get Input from Family and Friends
While Googling lawyers near you can certainly be part of your hiring process, it shouldn’t be your first step. A better place to start when searching for skilled legal services is within your personal network of friends and family.
If you know someone who has recently faced a custody or guardianship issue, has probated an estate, or who has successfully navigated a personal injury issue with help from an attorney, ask if they would recommend their lawyer. Referrals from past clients are a significant source of business for most law firms, and we value this type of word-of-mouth advertising!
If Your Network Can’t Help Refer a Lawyer
One of the best resources for finding a lawyer that perhaps isn’t well-publicized is the state or local-area bar association. Bar associations are professional organizations that lawyers belong to in the locations where they practice.
Here in Lancaster, PA, the Lancaster Bar Association is an excellent resource for helping individuals hire the right lawyer. In addition to a free attorney search tool on their website, the LBA also offers a lawyer referral service for a nominal fee.
Do Some Additional Research and Gather Case Documentation
Once you have received some names of lawyers and law firms in your community from people you know, it’s time to do a little more in-depth research to narrow your choices. This is the point at which internet searching can be helpful.
Visit the websites of lawyers you’re considering and carefully review any professional profile information you find, such as resumes. The best lawyers will make their background and experience very easy to access. These legal professionals are proud of their accomplishments and case victories and want prospective clients to know about their success!
While you’re researching, also gather as much background information about your legal problem or questions you have. For a personal injury matter, for instance, this may include medical bills, insurance company correspondence, and any forms or documents you have received.
Let us help you!
No matter what type of legal issue you’re facing, it’s a good idea to create a basic file of information before you set up a consultation. This way, you can help your prospective lawyer understand your needs quickly and give you helpful legal advice from the get-go.
Schedule a Consultation
When you’re ready to reach out to a lawyer or law firm, you usually have a choice of ways to make initial contact. Website contact forms are convenient; however, we suggest actually picking up the phone and calling to schedule your consultation.
What to Discuss During the Consultation:
While talking about what a professional service might cost can be uncomfortable for many people, the best lawyers will be upfront and honest about their fee structure. Hiring a lawyer to help with even commonplace legal scenarios like estate administration is nearly always the best path forward, which is why we work hard to make our attorney fees affordable for as many people as possible.
The good news is that most lawyers provide a free initial consultation or case review. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency, for instance, which means you don’t pay unless they recover compensation for you. The bottom line is, you should not feel reluctant to ask about the legal fees you will need to pay for our services.
Experience in the Specific Area of Law You Need
Just as you wouldn’t visit an eye doctor to help you with a sprained ankle, you shouldn’t hire an attorney who has only ever handled divorce cases, for instance, to help you with a tax matter in your business. Ask any lawyer you’re speaking with to outline their experience in working with—and winning—cases like yours.
Who Will Actually Be Working on Your Case
Every law firm includes attorneys as well as other skilled legal professionals, like paralegals and highly trained legal assistants. An entire team of professionals will likely be involved with your case in some capacity, but you may want to know specifics. For example, will your lawyer work together with other lawyers to leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting you compensation or defending your interests?
Be sure to ask about your lawyer’s specific approach to providing the best possible legal services to clients like you.
Ask Yourself: Do You Like This Lawyer?
It’s okay to be honest if you did not feel a connection with a given attorney during your initial consultation. Perhaps they come highly recommended, but you just can’t seem to get on the same page while you’re meeting or talking over the phone.
Considering that some types of cases and legal matters can stretch on for many months or even years, you need to have a good working relationship with your lawyer. If you simply do not feel comfortable with this individual you’re considering hiring, move on to the next name on your prospect list.
Need Help Navigating a Legal Issue in Lancaster, PA?
The attorneys at May, May & Zimmerman can help you better understand your rights no matter what kind of legal challenge you may be facing related to personal injury, family law, probate and estates, and more.
Get in touch with us now to discuss your case for free with one of our experienced, caring lawyers.
This blog is being published for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a basic understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By entering this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. This site should never be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
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