In 2022, there were 1,327,010 active lawyers in the U.S., and the number grows yearly. That means you can find attorneys in every city and state, but choosing the right one matters.
When you need to hire an attorney, what should you look for? First, you’ll likely begin by determining that you need legal help. Then you can move on to other factors.
As you look for one to hire, keep the following twelve things in mind to find the right attorney to hire.
1. Your Reason to Hire an Attorney
Some people have lawyers they call whenever they have legal issues or questions. But others rarely need legal advice and might only hire attorneys sometimes.
If you need a lawyer to call for frequent legal issues, you might want one skilled in multiple types of legal services. However, you might only need one for a specific reason.
If this is the case, consider your reason for hiring one. Here are some common reasons for hiring one:
- Settling an accident
- Being sued
- Buying or selling a house
- Divorce or other family issues
- Business issues
- Estate questions
Your reason might fall within one of these categories. However, plenty of other reasons lead people to need attorneys. The good news is that you can hire lawyers for any type of legal problem or question you face.
2. Type You Need
There are many vital factors to consider when choosing a lawyer, but one of the most crucial is the type you hire. Here are some common types you can choose from:
Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers assist with wrongful injury cases. For example, you can hire alphaaccidentlawyers.com to help settle a car accident case.
Some personal injury lawyers focus only on car accident cases. Others might specialize in medical malpractice cases or dog bite cases.
You can consult a personal injury lawyer to determine if you have a solid case. They’ll review your evidence and determine if they’ll represent you.
It might be wise to get a second opinion on your case before hiring a lawyer or dismissing the pursuit of a case.
If you need help creating or settling an estate plan, you’ll need an estate lawyer. These lawyers help people create wills and trusts. They also assist with settling cases after people die.
Small and large business owners turn to corporate lawyers for business-related legal issues. A corporate lawyer can help you create a new business structure.
They also handle business disputes, contracts, and other business-related legal issues.
You can turn to a family lawyer for any domestic legal issue. For example, a family lawyer can help you with an adoption or divorce. They also handle contracts, such as prenuptial agreements.
People hire tax attorneys to settle IRS tax debts or for debt relief. For example, you can hire a tax attorney if you’re considering bankruptcy as a way out of your debt.
The goal is to find the right type of lawyer for your legal services and needs. The right type of lawyer provides the expertise and knowledge in the branch of law you need help with.
Some lawyers offer multiple types of legal services. Finding one like this is a great idea if you need help with multiple legal issues. However, look for one that specializes in your need if you have one specific legal issue.
Have you considered asking your friends, coworkers, and relatives for referrals? You can learn a lot about local attorneys by asking people for recommendations.
Of course, you should ask the right people. For example, if you need help settling a car accident, ask someone you know who went through a similar situation.
If that person hired an attorney, they can tell you their thoughts. For example, ask them what they liked and disliked. Also, ask if they’d hire them again.
Word of mouth is a common way people find attorneys. If you have friends you trust that have used lawyers in the past, ask them for advice.
4. Local Options
Unfortunately, you might not know many people who hire attorney services. So you might not have anyone to ask, but you can search locally.
By performing a quick search of “attorneys near me,” you can acquire a list of attorneys in your town.
Next, scan the list to see if you can eliminate some. For example, cross off all the attorneys specializing in the wrong services.
If your list is too short, expand the search. Smaller towns might not have a lot of lawyers. Instead, they might only have a few.
Therefore, you should expand the search to a broader radius for more options. You’ll likely find plenty of attorneys if you live in a larger city, which means you’ll have more to research.
Make a list of the attorneys your friends recommended and any you found through a local search. Then start looking at their reviews.
5. Reputation and Reviews
You only need one lawyer, and reading reviews is a great way to narrow down your list. Reviews can tell you about a lawyer’s reputation, services, and personality traits.
To find reviews, google the attorney’s name. Read through as many as you’d like, considering the comments you read.
For example, what reasons did people hire lawyers? Were they happy with the services, costs, and outcomes? Would they hire the lawyers again?
Great attorneys will have great reviews. However, there will always be a few unhappy customers. The goal is to find an attorney with mostly positive reviews.
As mentioned, you must find the right type of lawyer. However, each type has many subcategories of services. You must hire a lawyer with the right specialty for the best results.
Personal injury law assists accident victims after injuries occur from negligence. Negligence can occur from many accident types, so consider the cases a lawyer accepts.
For example, some people hire personal injury lawyers for car accident injuries. You can also hire a personal injury lawyer for injuries from:
- Botched medical procedures
- Dog bites
- Ride-sharing accidents
- Slip and falls
- Undiagnosed medical conditions
An attorney who handles car accidents might not have enough experience to counsel you in a medical malpractice case. Both types of cases fall into personal injury law, but they’re very different case types.
Find an attorney that knows, handles, and specializes in your case type. You can often find this information on a lawyer’s website. You might even find statistics on their sites.
Lawsuit statistics help you understand their specialties and win-loss records for cases. Additionally, you might learn the average settlement amount the lawyers won for personal injury cases.
7. Free Consultation
When hiring a lawyer, asking if they offer free consultations is helpful. A free consultation might be a phone call or an in-person meeting. These appointments are generally short but beneficial.
If the law firm offers a free consultation, schedule it and prepare for it. One way to prepare is by writing a list of questions to ask an attorney. Writing it out helps you ask vital questions to gain your desired answers.
You can also prepare by gathering your evidence. For example, you might have pictures, medical bills, and a police report if you were in a car accident. Bring those items to the visit to show the attorney.
A free consultation also helps you assess the law firm’s professionalism and environment. If the firm offers in-person consultations, do it. You can learn more more in person than over the phone.
8. Experience and Credentials
You should always check a lawyer’s credentials and experience before hiring them. Lawyers must pass a bar exam to practice law after completing the necessary education. They must also be licensed in the state where you live.
There is nothing wrong with asking a lawyer about these things to find out. For example, you can ask where they went to law school. You can ask about their undergraduate studies and focus.
Then, you can ask about their law experience. For example, ask about their years in practice or with their current firm. You can also ask about their cases, including case outcomes.
9. Individual vs. Team
Many lawyers work for their own firms and handle all the casework themselves. Others work for larger firms with multiple attorneys on staff.
When discussing their services, ask how they operate. For example, do they work on the cases individually or as a team? In addition, talk to them about their availability and current workload.
Talking about this can help you determine if they have time to take your case. If they have a hefty workload, they might not have enough time to put into your case at this time.
10. Sources of Communication
Another consideration when hiring a lawyer is their communication sources. When you hire a lawyer, you must know how to communicate with them.
Some lawyers prefer phone calls from their clients for communication purposes. Others prefer emails or texts. Discussing this is a great way to ensure you have an open line of communication for your case.
If you prefer handling conversations in person or over the phone, look for one that prefers these methods. You might not be happy with one that prefers emails and texting if you don’t enjoy these methods.
11. Personality and Knowledge
It’s also important to hire a lawyer that you can work with easily. That doesn’t mean hiring a lawyer based on their personality alone. But it does mean that the attorney’s personality matters.
Look for a friendly, knowledgeable lawyer who is easy to talk to. You’ll benefit by finding one that explains things in a way you can understand. Finding one that listens well is also important.
A lawyer’s knowledge also matters, and you can gauge this during your consultation appointment. You can also judge their personality and conversational style when meeting with them.
12. Fees for the Services
Finally, consider the attorney’s fee structure before hiring them. Attorneys charge fees in several ways, and you can learn by asking.
One method lawyers use is an hourly fee. Each time you meet with them or call them, they record your time. They also record the time they spend working on your case, and they bill you for the time afterward.
Other lawyers charge flat fees. For example, some family lawyers charge a state flat fee rate for a divorce case. You pay the stated rate unless there are extra services they must do. In this case, they add the extra fee.
You can also find lawyers who charge contingency fees. This type of fee system is common with personal injury cases.
With a contingency fee system, you only pay if you win the case. You’ll pay a percentage of your settlement amount. The law firm will tell you the percentage before you hire them.
This system gives lawyers an incentive to fight for larger settlements. After all, they get paid more for larger settlements.
You should avoid looking for the cheapest lawyer around. Paying a higher rate often yields better legal services.
Use These Factors to Hire the Right Lawyer
Do you need to hire an attorney for legal help? Considering these factors can help you make the right choice. While finding the right one might take some time, you’ll be glad you spent the time doing it.
Follow these tips to find the right lawyer for the work you need. Then, you’ll have a lawyer you trust for the next time you need legal services. Did you enjoy reading this article? If so, be sure to check out others on our site.