How to Choose a Lawyer
The decision to go to a lawyer can be a difficult one for many reasons. First of all, it’s an intimidating prospect, no matter your current situation. The idea of contacting a lawyer brings to mind large legal fees, long months and years of arbitration, complicated terms that go over your head, and lawyers who don’t care that much about the outcome as long as they make their money.
None of that is necessarily completely untrue, but much of it is not necessarily true, either. For instance, many lawyers only earn fees when they win a case. They then take a portion of the settlement. And many lawyers do honestly care about helping their clients and make every effort to simplify what is happening so their clients can keep up.
Even if you overcome your intimidation, though, there’s still the issue of choosing a lawyer. Who is best? Is it the expensive lawyer with upfront fees or the pro bono lawyer? And which pro bono lawyer? In many cities, there could be hundreds of law firms to choose from.
There’s no easy answer to any of these questions, but there is an easier answer to the very primary question you have to ask: do you need a lawyer?
For that, all you have to do is consider whether you’ve been aggrieved in some way and whether that is because of the actions or someone (or something, like a corporation).
Take for instance car accidents. If you are likely to incur costs for medical bills, therapy, lost wages, and if you are likely to suffer from diminished earnings and pain due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should probably be looking for a lawyer.
Using a lawyer can lead to about three times as much compensation as going without one, which makes the case for contacting a lawyer much stronger.
As for which lawyer to choose, once you’ve settled upon choosing a lawyer in the first place, there are a few tactics you can try. First, ask around for recommendations (and for warnings) about the lawyers in your area. If you know someone who was in a serious car accident, for instance, ask if they got a lawyer or researched lawyers.
Beyond that, consider the online recommendations and the record of each law firm. If a firm has a long history of big court victories, and their online reviews are positive, they may be worth contacting to at least hear out what they can do for you.
Finally, many law firms will give you a free initial consultation. So, you are losing nothing but time by going to one with a good reputation and seeing if they are the right fit for you. Just as you have to do a little trial and error to find the right doctor, you may have to visit a few lawyers before you find the one you feel has the skills to fight for you.