Whether you’ve found yourself in a sticky personal situation or you need someone to give you guidance on how to structure your small business, there comes a time when most people eventually need the services of a lawyer. The question is, how do you find the right one?
What Sets Good Lawyers Apart?
There’s no shortage of lawyers in today’s marketplace. Whatever the specialty may be, there are dozens of lawyers in every market ready to serve clients in need. But as with any industry, there can be huge variances in the quality of services lawyers provide. Here’s what sets the good attorneys apart from the average and underperforming ones:
- Lawyers often get pegged as being shady and manipulative, but this is nothing more than an ill-advised stereotype. While there are attorneys who mislead people, the vast majority are honest, hardworking individuals who want what’s best for their clients. Make sure you only work with lawyers who fall into this latter category.
- There’s nothing wrong with a young lawyer, but make sure you aren’t hiring someone who is learning at your expense. It’s better to pay a premium and work with an experienced lawyer who has seen a thing or two.
- A fair lawyer is someone who understands your situation and doesn’t look to take advantage of you. They aren’t going to ask for a massive fee up front. They’ll work on a contingency fee basis to ensure the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Depending on your situation and what type of services you’re looking for, there may be other factors you really want to focus on. However, regardless of the type of law being practiced, honesty, experience, and fairness are always desirable.
Finding Good Lawyers Online
Armed with an understanding of what separates good lawyers from the pack, here’s some practical advice regarding how you can find the right lawyer for your situation:
- Read online reviews. There are dozens of online websites and platforms that allow clients to publish reviews of attorneys and their services. Spend some time reading through these reviews to get an idea for what sort of reputation a lawyer has.
- Study the website. Studying a lawyer’s website will give you a feel for how serious they are. Take the Scott M. Brown & Associates homepage as an example. Notice how sleek and articulate the page is. This communicates value. Now compare this to one of the gimmicky, over-the-top pages you find for most personal injury lawyers and you’ll see the difference.
- Check accreditations. Never make assumptions. If an attorney says they’re accredited by this and that organization, follow up to ensure that they are. The types of groups a lawyer associates with will tell you a lot about their reputation in the field.
- Ask the right questions. You’ll learn a lot by observing, but you can ask some qualifying questions to further evaluate whether or not a lawyer is potentially a good fit. In particular, you should ask about their experience with cases like yours. (It bodes well for you if the attorney has obtained successful outcomes in similar situations.) It’s also a good idea to inquire about the lawyer’s current caseload and how much time he’ll be able to dedicate to your case.
If you do these four things, you’ll find it much easier to unearth a lawyer who can help you. You’ll also be far less likely to waste your time on an attorney who is only looking out for his best interests.
Don’t Settle for Second Best
There are plenty of options out there. If you want a cheap lawyer, you can find a cheap lawyer. If you want a lawyer with a fancy office, you can find a lawyer with a fancy office. If you want a lawyer who talks a good talk, you can find that, too. But if you’re truly being honest with yourself, you really want the best lawyer.
If you aren’t careful, your online search for a lawyer will quickly exhaust you and make you susceptible to settling for second best. The key is to resist this temptation and channel your energy and focus toward finding the lawyer that’s a fit for you. Hopefully this article has provided you with a simple methodology for doing so.