Hiring a Lawyer – What You Need to Know
There comes a time in many people’s lives when they feel they’ve been wronged and thus need a lawyer. This is a confusing and difficult time because you want to receive justice, but you’re unsure where to begin. There are big legal questions that need to be asked. You want to hire a quality lawyer and not get ripped off and you don’t want to create a year-long saga only to end up being worse off than you were before.
So where should you start? I was curious about this question myself so I talked to a well-known group of slip and fall lawyers in BC for their advice on what people should look for in a lawyer if it’s their first time.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a lawyer to represent your case.
Research Their Reputation:
The first step of finding a good lawyer to represent you is to research their reputation. This is key because there are a lot of lawyer’s in the United States to choose from if someone’s background isn’t right for you. You can research a lawyer’s reputation by scouring reviews online and asking people you know. If you have a lot of friends in your community there’s a chance someone has dealt with them or know’s someone who has and can help you decide. Word of mouth holds a lot of power in the legal world.
They Work Within The Bar Association:
The bar association is the governing associations that all credible lawyer’s work through. Make sure that your lawyer has passed their bar examination and has the experience to represent you properly.
Understand Your End Goal:
What are you trying to accomplish by heading to court? Are you trying to win a settlement, earn your job back, feel a sense of justice and have someone admit their wrong? Be realistic with yourself and what you think you can accomplish. Try to look at your case subjectively, as that’s how the court will view it. It’s important to make sure your case has been fully thought through and you have your end goal in mind. This will be key in making sure you end up with the right lawyer.
It’s Okay To Get A Referral:
Sometimes what you’ll find when you have a sit down with a lawyer is they’ll direct you to another lawyer. This may seem confusing because why would they turn away business? This is normal practice in the law community as lawyer’s often try to match you with the best lawyer for your specific case. They may feel someone next door or at a different firm is more adept to dealing with cases of your kind. This will likely cost you a small referral fee, but in the end it’s worthwhile.
Interview Your Lawyer:
You’re hiring a lawyer for a job, they’re not your boss. It’s up to you to interview them and ask them questions about their history dealing with cases similar to yours and their confidence they can get the job done. You can ask whatever questions are important to you. You’re spending the money to get a service.
Hourly, Flat Rate, or Contingent:
A hot topic among everyday people is how much the lawyer will cost. They’re viewed as being an investment which will cost thousands of dollars and put you into more debt. This isn’t necessarily the case however. Lawyer’s can often be quite flexible and understanding when dealing with payment plans. See if you can get a free consolation to talk things over with the lawyer.
Lawyer’s have three styles of payment methods. There’s the hourly fee, a flat rate for the entire proceeding, and contingent payment. If the lawyer is contingent, they may not take your case unless they know you’re going to win it, because they want to safeguard their reputation as a “winning” lawyer and make sure they’re getting paid.
Get A Retainer:
When you’re searching for a lawyer you want to reduce the amount of pressure on your to find one. If you can find a lawyer who will accept a retainer from you, you will have their advice always on hand should you need it. Do some searching and find someone who will accept a retainer so you can make the proper moves with your case.
You Can Always Fire Your Lawyer:
If you don’t approve of the job your lawyer is doing that’s okay. You can fire them and hire someone else. There’s no legal obligation to stick with a lawyer. Just because you’re new to the world of law, if you’re gut is telling you something is off, you’re probably right. Trust your instincts. With any job there’s bad employee’s out there, the same is true for lawyer’s.
Hiring a lawyer doesn’t have to be as intimidating as the world makes it out to be. Take your time, do your research, and understand that it’s your money you’re spending. You cant take liberties to interview them before they’re hired.