Contrary to popular belief, there is no one “best lawyer” for every client or every case. Which lawyer is the best one for you depends both on you and how you prefer to work and on the type of case you have and the legal issues involved. Frequently potential clients go out searching to find the best lawyer, but what they really need to look for is a lawyer experienced in the type of legal issue they have and who they can imagine working with over the length of the case.
The best lawyer is the one you like working with.
Most potential new clients start out by placing a phone call to a law firm. You may not be able to speak directly to a lawyer on your first call, but sometimes you will. It’s like calling a doctor’s office. Usually, you’ll setup an appointment with the paralegal or receptionist, and then meet your lawyer in person. But either way, this first phone call can tell you how responsive the firm is, and whether the support staff will be pleasant to work with as your case proceeds through the system.
At some point you’ll have an initial meeting with the lawyer. Depending on the legal issue involved, this consultation may be free or it might involve a small fee for the lawyer’s time. Don’t let a consultation fee scare you off from hiring the lawyer. The most productive and experienced lawyers often charge consultation fees for some types of cases. In the inital meeting, consider the following:
- Does the lawyer seem to understand your legal problem?
- Does he or she communicate with you in a way that is clear and understandable?
- Did the lawyer ask you questions about your situation? (Good lawyers ask questions because they know what parts of a client’s story matter most, and they know what facts they must analyze to solve the legal problem).
- Did they lawyer explain what experience they have handling cases like yours in the court(s) of your city or county?
This initial meeting is your chance to evaluate this lawyer and decide whether you will be comfortable working with him or her. A lawyer’s knowledge of the law and ability to present cases is important. But it can be just as important that the client have a good and positive working relationship with the lawyer. The best lawyer for you might be different than the best lawyer for someone else.
At the end of your initial meeting, both you and the lawyer have a choice to make. The lawyer will decide whether you are the kind of client he wants to work with, whether there are any legal conflicts that would prevent him from representing you, and whether he can handle your legal issue competently. You must decide whether you can trust this lawyer and follow his or her instructions and advice as your case proceeds through the system.
Hiring the best lawyer is really about hiring the best lawyer for you. It is a highly individualized decision that depends on many factors. But the process starts with a phone call. If you’d like to discuss your legal problem, just contact us.