7 Qualities to Look for in an Attorney

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

There’s never a fun time to hire a lawyer. In almost every situation, there’s an underlying problem or concern that has to be dealt with. But you can make your experience a whole lot more efficient by hiring the right attorney for your needs.

The 7 Qualities and Skills to Look For

No lawyer is perfect. Every attorney has his or her own flaws, shortcomings, and challenges. But there are certainly some who are better equipped to handle your case than others.

Here are some of the specific qualities and skills you should be looking for:

1. Honesty and Transparency

Lawyers often get a bad reputation for being sleazy and slimy. And while there are certainly plenty who fall into this category, there are also lots of honest attorneys who follow the rules and look out for the best interests of their clients. As you look for a lawyer to represent you in your area of need, honesty should be something that’s highly sought after.

Transparency is especially important. If you encounter an attorney who is squirmy with providing specific numbers, details, or promises, walk away. Instead, you want an attorney who isn’t afraid to be upfront with you. Take The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian as an example. As you’ll notice on their website, they actually provide case studies of results they’ve attained for their clients. And what makes them so different is that they actually outline the legal fees and expenses that were incurred (alongside the client award). That’s a pretty big deal in the industry and allows prospective clients to see the true value of cases like theirs.

2. Experience

You don’t want an attorney fresh out of law school working on your case. They may possess a ton of head knowledge, but it’s unlikely that they’ve seen much in terms of real-world situations. Industry “street smarts” are an important aspect to be considered, so look for an attorney with years of experience and dozens (if not hundreds) of cases under their belt.

3. Niche Expertise

General experience is great, but it’s even better if you can find niche expertise in the area of your case. It’s always best if you can team up with an attorney who has dealt with a situation similar to yours (and been successful). This isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely helpful.

4. Availability

A good lawyer is pretty useless if they’re hard to get in touch with. Some lawyers are good at what they do, but take on too many clients at one time. As a result, they hand off most of the work to paralegals and assistants. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in bad hands, it’s not the same as having access to the attorney you hired.

5. Communication

Communication skills are important in every industry, but particularly law. You’ll have questions, concerns, requests, and needs throughout the process. It’s helpful if you have an attorney who can get back to you within minutes or hours – not days.

6. Empathy

There’s something to be said for having an attorney who possesses the aggression of a pit bull in court, but it’s also encouraging to have someone who is empathetic towards your situation. An empathetic lawyer will take time to listen to you and understand what you’re going through.

7. Good Reputation

“Your attorney should have 4- or 5-star [customer] review ratings at Avvo,” says Dean Tong, a certified forensic consultant and child abuse expert. “Most attorneys don’t have resumes or CVs, but many do have flashy state-of-the-art web sites. Don’t be swayed by flashy propaganda.”

In addition to checking out Avvo, you should read other online reviews and speak with others in the area. A positive reputation is a big deal and you shouldn’t discount the opinions of others.

Don’t Settle for the Wrong Fit

There are likely dozens of lawyers and firms in your area. This means you have plenty of options to choose from. But instead of letting choices overwhelm you, leverage the competition to your advantage. Take your time and vet as many lawyers as you can – waiting for the right fit. When you can check off the qualities and skills highlighted in this article, you’ll know that you’ve found a good one.