Do you need help finding a good lawyer? The legal system touches every aspect of life; maybe your legal needs are for a child custody case, or a criminal law issue, or maybe you are filing for a patent and want to make sure you get it right. No matter the situation, finding a good lawyer is an essential part of getting the outcome you desire from your legal situation.
But how does one go about finding a good lawyer? Thank you for asking. While this might be the first time you’ve ever had to use a lawyer, throughout the history of our justice system, millions of people have used millions of lawyers for millions of reason. Throughout that time, a lot of people have made a lot of mistakes while choosing their attorney. We’ve taken the time to collect many of the common mistakes folks make while finding a good lawyer, to help you avoid them:
Three Common Mistakes People Make While Choosing a Lawyer
- MISTAKE: Assuming that any law degree will be fine.
We hear this all of the time. Your cousin’s neighbor’s boyfriend is a probate lawyer, and even though what you need is a divorce lawyer, your acquaintance is willing to throw you a bone and provide the legal council at a discount (heck, maybe they’ll work pro bono on your behalf. You can’t argue with free, can you?). You just need someone who passed the bar, AmIRight?
In fact, every branch of law is very unique and a slight oversight of any small detail could have devastating implications on your entire case. You really aren’t saving any money if you use a lawyer who is unfamiliar with the minute nuances of your legal situation and the outcome of the case is unfavorable for you. Instead, bypass using a friend of a friend who will cut you a deal, and go to a legal professional who is an expert in the legal field you need help with.
- MISTAKE: Assuming the biggest law firm in the biz is your best bet.
Let’s say you need a personal injury lawyer, and the first law firm that comes to mind is the one who has a commercial on TV and a billboard on every corner, and you happen to have their phone number memorized because their slogan is so darn catchy. They’re the biggest personal injury law firm in town, they must be the most equipped to deal with your issue, right?
Actually, sometimes your best bet is to use one of the less-known law firms in the business. When you go with the flashy law giant, you are a small fish and the outcome of your case has very little impact on the lawyers who work on it. In fact, many times, these law firms like to stack business up a little higher than they really have the resources to work on. Your case gets pushed to the back of the line and delayed over and over. Your lawyer doesn’t remember who you are. It’s difficult to get a call returned when you have questions about your case. Instead, look for a lawyer who is less glamorous but can dedicate the time you need for your case.
- MISTAKE: Choosing a lawyer based on price.
Just like our first point, it doesn’t pay to skrimp on a lawyer. You might save yourself a few bucks up front, but lose an arm and leg in the long-run. We aren’t saying the most expensive lawyer is the best lawyer; we’re saying this should not be a determining factor in choosing a lawyer. Choose your lawyer based on track record, reputation, specialization, and experience. Not the billable rate.
If you just can’t afford the high cost of a lawyer, there are several ways you can make it work. Many lawyers offer payment plans to help their clients afford their services. Personal injury lawyers will likely be willing to work with no money up front and take their pay from the settlement. You can also seek less expensive services such as a paralegal or legal assistant for non-crucial tasks like obtaining documents and getting dates and deadlines, and then use the lawyer for the strategic needs.
Do you have any other questions? Please share with us in the comments!