Unless you’re a business owner or extremely wealthy, you probably only think about securing a relationship with an attorney during a stressful time. It might be drafting a will, during a divorce or when battling for custody. However, a great attorney is important to have on call no matter who you are. It’s not just the wealthy, those with current legal woes or small business owners who run into barriers with the law.
The good news is that you don’t need to have an attorney on retainer in order to ensure they have your back. Of course, when on retainer they’re legally committed to you, making them at your beck and call within an agreed amount of time. What many people don’t know is that simply “knowing” an attorney through a complimentary meet and greet means they’re much more likely to get back to you in urgent situations.
How can you pick the best attorney for you and your situation?
1. Consider your overarching needs
Attorneys specialize in different areas, from DUIs to tax preparation. A comprehensive team or firm specializes in numerous fields, many of which are complementary. For example, a divorce attorney might also specialize in custody or tax issues. You know where your niche is and what you’ll be most likely to need. However, even if an attorney doesn’t specialize in your situation at the time, they can quickly refer you to a colleague who does.
2. Trust your gut
Meeting with an attorney in person is paramount because they’re more likely to remember you. However, what’s more important is that you can get a feel for who they are. Many clients are trusting their attorneys with their life and well-being. You want to make sure you’re comfortable and have rapport with your attorney.
3. Hourly fees aren’t everything
Just because an attorney charges a lot doesn’t mean they’re the best, and just because a lawyer offers a low ball figure doesn’t mean you’re getting a great deal. Fees are part of what can be used to assess the “worth” of an attorney. Also look at their background, education, testimonials and how many cases they’ve won.
4. Follow up on referrals
A good attorney will have many testimonials and referrals to offer. While there’s certainly the issue of privacy to consider, there will probably be many happy clients who are willing to give recommendations. If not, look at numerous review sites and check the Better Business Bureau.