Finding a lawyer can seem like a stressful undertaking. The same way you hire any other contractor or service provider, it’s important to remember that you’re the client. You get to decide if they’re the right fit before you decide to work with them.
As a lawyer, I’ve seen firsthand the worry that many potential clients feel before they take the plunge and hire me. However, you can take the panic out of the decision making process by knowing what to look for and what questions to ask.
Here are six tips for finding a lawyer.
#1. Ask for Recommendations
We all know that word-of-mouth recommendations from people we trust can go a long way to helping us feel comfortable making a decision. When finding a lawyer, start out by asking anyone you know with a similar business for their recommendations.
Or if you have any business friends who’ve handled similar situations, find who they used. Choosing a known entity, whom someone can vouch for the quality of their work, can save you both time and the stress of fretting over who to choose for your legal needs.
#2. Have a General Idea of What You’re Looking For
If you’re working on finding a lawyer you probably have a rough idea of what sort of assistance you need. Maybe it’s drafting a contract, or working out your website terms.
In some cases, you may be a bit clueless about what exactly you require, and that’s totally okay. If you’re uncertain, then consider booking a consultation with a lawyer who practices the type of law you think you need. During a consultation, the lawyer can assist with strategy and make recommendations as they learn more about you and your business.
If you’re looking for some basic guidance on how to get started, be clear on your intent with the lawyer you’re speaking to. Consults are typically an introduction and will not include any legal advice that is specific to your situation.
If you know you need individualized advice, consider booking a strategy session versus a consultation, as these sessions are designed to help you map out what you need, ask specific questions, and obtain advice.
#3. Don’t Assume Every Lawyer Knows Every Area of Law
Like so many other professionals, lawyers often practice in a particular area of the law. For example, litigation and business transactions are very different. While many lawyers have some basic knowledge of certain areas of practice, it doesn’t mean they know enough to help you in the best way possible — especially if you’re dealing with something that isn’t “standard.”
When finding a lawyer, look for someone with the experience you need. The last thing you want to do is assume the lawyer who handles your parents’ real estate law is also an expert in law for digital businesses. Choosing someone who isn’t a specialist in the area of practice you need can have some unintended consequences and may leave your business vulnerable.
#4. Choose Someone You Feel Comfortable With
Contrary to what TV and movies have led us to believe:
You shouldn’t actually hate your lawyer.
Over the years I’ve had way too many people tell me that they worked with someone that they really didn’t like.
However, for the relationship to be the most effective, you should be able to communicate (without a ton of stress) with your lawyer.
I know that I’m not an ideal fit for everyone, so I like to have a consultation with potential clients. This is the ideal time to see if we can establish a rapport, and they can gauge their comfort level with my communication style.
When finding a lawyer, look for someone who makes you comfortable, not scared. Sure, some areas of law are more scary than others, but regardless of what legal business you’re handling, you should feel like your lawyer is on your side. You want someone working to help you achieve a goal, not someone who is doom and gloom and stressing you out all the darn time.
#5. Can They Help You Meet Your Goals?
In addition to finding a lawyer with experience, you’ll also want someone who can meet any critical deadline or necessary requirements you may have.
Ask questions about what working together will look like. Will you be working directly with the lawyer or will you be passed along to staff immediately after the consult? If that is the case, can you meet who you will be working with before you decide to move ahead? Do they have the same experience that you are looking for?
Whoever ends up handling your legal needs, you’ll want to be clear on everyone’s expectations and what you’re working towards so that both you and your lawyer can create a successful outcome.
#6. Find Someone Who Can Work Within Your Budget
When finding a lawyer, don’t be afraid to consider your budget and ask about fees. Most lawyers will charge more than $300 hourly and others will offer flat fees depending on the services.
Some questions you should ask your potential lawyer include:
- Can they estimate the time that they will spend?
- Are there minimum charges?
- Are there any other expenses that will be added to the bill?
Choosing a Lawyer that Meets Your Needs
Now that you have some idea on how to go about finding a lawyer, take some time to ask around and do some research. Nail down what you’re looking for, and make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to ensure you choose the best fit for your needs.
Are you looking to ensure all of your legal needs are handled?
Book a consult and we can get started.