Do you have an attorney or know how to go about finding one? It is often something we don’t think about until the need for one arises and then you can feel panicked. There are many simple ways you can go about finding an attorney to help you with your legal matters.
One of the first pathways you can try is to go through family and friends. Just like hiring any other professional, it can often be helpful to learn who your family and friends had success using. However, it is important to remember that all lawyers do not have the same area of expertise. Your friend may have an excellent reference for an attorney; but if that attorney has never handled a personal injury case and practices mainly estate planning, you might need to look elsewhere. There are various areas of specialization such as medical malpractice and family law, and in most cases you will want to seek out someone who specializes in your area of need.
In their search for legal assistance, many people find that their employers have an avenue that they may be able to utilize. Some employers have programs where employees can obtain free legal advice from a lawyer. This avenue is best used for simpler matters but could help you make better decisions about your situation or decide if you need further legal assistance. This is an excellent option in many cases, but not all. Obviously if you have a problem that involves your employer, this option probably won’t work for you.
Another great source for finding a lawyer is your State Bar’s website or the American Bar Association website. There you can find attorneys who specialize in the area of expertise that you need. Moreover, you can find out if there have been any major complaints against the lawyer that you want to choose and if their credentials are clean.
While searching for a lawyer, you will most likely come across certain terms, such as contingency fee. This is a very important term. It refers to when you pay the lawyer only if the case is handled successfully. In other words, the lawyer gets paid a percentage of the claim or recovery. Many personal injury lawyers use this type of method. Many cases that involve workers compensation will involve contingency fees. This is a great choice for some people because nothing has to come out of pocket initially in order to hire your lawyer and cover your case. The attorney will get paid after the case has been completed. It is important to remember that if you do not win your case, neither you nor your attorney will receive any funds. Keep in the mind, as well, that sometimes court filing fees must be paid whether you lose or win.
Interview Your Choice
After you have narrowed down your choices, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you get the right person for the job. There are several questions you can ask your potential lawyer to get a better feel for if that person will be a good fit for you. These are some questions that you can think about.
- How long have you been in your particular field?
- How many cases have you won?
- What are your fees?
These are some of the most common questions asked and you will most likely come up with several more of your own. Questions like these that will help you pinpoint if or how you can afford to hire a lawyer and if that lawyer is a good fit for you.
Some additional questions to ask could center around how and when will you be billed, if there is anyone else that would be working on your case, and if your attorney has any additional certifications or specializations. Perhaps the attorney will have some questions for you. Answer what you can and take notice to how you feel about this person. You will want to feel comfortable and safe with them. If for any reason you don’t trust them, you don’t have to hire them. Sometimes people are not a good match and chances are you could be working with an attorney for a lengthy period of time. Make sure you feel confident in your choice.
Tom Moverman established the Lipsig Bronx Law Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989; The firm’s focus is in personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents, products liability, and medical malpractice.