Lawyers are those professionals we really can’t do without. They’re like doctors in a way, you hope you never have to pay them a visit; then something comes up and you have no other choice than to hire one. Also, like doctors, there are general practitioners and specialists.
The kind of lawyer you hire to write your will probably is not the same lawyer who would help you divorce your partner. Just the same way the lawyer that helped with your insurance claim may not help with your patent rights.
An experienced lawyer in your corner would help you understand the complexities of business negotiations, will and trust drafting, estate planning, tax strategies, and a whole lot more. When hiring a lawyer, here are some important things you should know.
Are They Experienced?
No one starts out as an experienced lawyer, they all begin as a new lawyer. But, you need to know whether the attorney you’re planning on hiring is talented and experienced enough for the task at hand.
The kind of experience a typical lawyer should include negotiating with other seasoned lawyers or insurance adjusters, valuing a case for settlement, cross-examining and preparing witnesses, and being able to persuade judges to rule in favor of their client.
If your case is not a very complex one, any lawyer who’s competent enough would be able to handle it without stress. A more experienced lawyer would prove to be more useful if you have more at risk.
What’s Their Area Of Specialization?
It’s been established that there are general practice and specialist lawyers. There are cases both can handle on their own but in today’s legal environment, it is best if your attorney is 50% knowledgeable in the area you are hiring them for.
Don’t hesitate to find out how long they’ve been practicing in your field. Ask the attorney directly or visit their website so you can easily tell their area of practice. Another way to know their niche is by checking to see what area they devote the majority of their time to or if they’re registered members of the professional body. In essence, get a lawyer that would be of immense value to your case.
If you’re going to be making frequent visits to your lawyer’s office, then you should hire one that is within your current location and easily accessible for you. It’s the next thing to consider after knowing their experience and area of expertise.
There are reputable lawyers and firms present in several states so it would be best to look within your state. If you’re in Georgia you can contact Weaver Law Firm or you can just look for New York Lawyers if you live there. It is much better to hire a lawyer who is based in a single state so you don’t have difficulties going to their office.
Would you have access to your attorney when you need him or her? Do they respond to phone calls or emails irrespective of the type of case you have? It is essential that your attorney is able to answer your concerns when necessary.
Even though their assistant can fill in for them sometimes, you should be able to reach the lawyer directly when it is needed.
Are They Licensed?
This is a very important matter to consider; whether or not the individual is a licensed lawyer and what kind of record they have in the State Bar. Every state has its own so you can contact the State Bar of your state.
There is a search section where you can put in the attorney’s name to find out if that person is licensed as an attorney. You could also check if they’ve got any history of discipline with the State Bar.
Are They Persons of Integrity?
A good lawyer knows how important their reputation is. Those are the kind of attorneys you should be after; people who don’t cheat their clients unnecessarily. How do you know when a lawyer has integrity? Their clients would always speak highly of them and they would have a good track record.
This factor might not determine how well they perform on your case, but knowing whether you and your attorney share the same general opinion about your case would make life easier for you both. From your first few meetings, you’d be able to determine your level of compatibility.
The question isn’t whether you need a lawyer or not, rather it is when do you need it? They’re professionals who provide sound advice and knowledge to individuals who might need to talk to an expert. They can be in any field; that’s why there are specialists.
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