Last updated on March 9th, 2019 at 11:20 am
You want to hire a lawyer to handle your legal matters, but scared of falling into bad hands. You don’t want to compound your problems by getting involve with a lawyer who will deceive and dupe you.
And you are careful not fall into the traps of incompetent lawyers. Lawyers who have buoyant profiles all over the social media. They can lure you in with their unrealistic promises.
So, before you begin a chat for professional engagement with any lawyer you intend to hire,
there are certain things you should look for that will save you some costly mistakes.
Report from scamwatch indicated that up to 177,519 people, in different business categories got scammed in the year 2018. Large number of these scams happened online. This also is a reason why you should be careful while sourcing for legal services – especially online.
Here are 8 things you should look for in a lawyer you want to hire.
1. Years of Practice
Years of practice is the first thing you should look for when you want to hire a lawyer for any professional service. This is because lawyers acquire more experience as they grow older in the profession. And there are certain intricacies around a particular legal issue which a younger lawyer may not know.
If you secure the services of an older lawyer, it’s most likely he has handled the same issue or similar issue in the past. And if that is the case, then he is a good fit for the job.
Again, if you hire an older lawyer, there is a guarantee that he will complete the work faster than a younger lawyer. Young lawyers take longer time to handle tough legal issues than older ones. A younger lawyer would have to consult many sources before he or she arrive at a solution. And this takes time.
That a lawyer is old the profession does not mean he is a guru in all areas of legal practice. Depending on the quality of service you want , it is preferable you look for a lawyer who specializes in the area you need help.
A lawyer who specializes in taxation will handle tax matters perfectly than the one whose specialty is criminal litigation. He will do better no matter his or her age of practice.
If you hire a lawyer who specializes in an area where you need help, he will render more profissional and efficient services.
Here are simplest means of locating an expect lawyer
- Inquire from other lawyers in your locality: It is easier to locate a lawyer who specializes in an area you need help if you ask other lawyers in your locality. Lawyers know the level of expertize of their colleagues more than any other person. And you can reach out to any lawyer through his follow lawyer. You can get his phone number, office address and other vital information through his friends and associates.
- Check lawyers’ directories: If you are looking for a lawyer online, the best place to contact an expect is in the lawyers’ directories. There are many lawyers’ directories online with profiles of competent lawyers practicing in your region. In these directories, you will see the lawyer’s profile and samples of work he or she has done.
3. Professional Standing
A lawyer may be very old in the profession, he might have great experience and skill in the area you need help. But if he has been charged and convicted for any professional misconduct, he is not a perfect fit for the job.
Before you call or email a lawyer for interview, it is vital you check his professional standing. Rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners are what any credible and competent lawyer will never want to violate. He knows the effect of professional misconduct, and he guard against it.
A lawyer who has not paid his or her practicing fee for the year will compound your problem instead. If you hire this kind of lawyer to handle your case, whatever services he will render is either void from the beginning or voidable.
If you want to know the professional standing of the lawyer you want to hire, here are what you should do
- Visit the branch office of your state bar association and make inquiries about the lawyer. Ask your state bar chairman or any of his excos to know whether the lawyer has been convicted before. A lawyer standing trial for professional misconduct may not be perfect at the moment you need help.
- Log in to the site of your state bar, confirm if the name of the lawyer is still in the rolls of lawyers.
With this you will be rest assured you are dealing with a reputable and qualified lawyer
4. Size of Practice
The size of practice of a lawyer most times speaks more about the lawyer. It sometimes tells you, right off the bat, the kind of lawyer you’re dealing with.
If the lawyer you want to hire has a good number of staffs and colleagues working for him, well-equipped library and access to internet facilities, it’s a great indication that he will deliver a resourceful service and on time.
Size of practice of a lawyer does not cover one who merely occupy good office, furnished with modern facilities just for comfort of staffs and visiting clients with little or nothing happening behind the scene. It only covers a lawyer with good track records.
How do you know the Size of practice of a lawyer You Want to Hire?
To be sure of how big or small practice of a lawyer is, here are three question you should ask yourself
- Does he have office address –head office and branch office – or just a solo practitioner without an office accommodation.
- If the lawyer is online, does he own a website or updated linkedin profile where he showcases samples of his work? Who are those following him in all his social media accounts? and how often do people review his work online?
- How many awards has won and how many legal journals that have published his work?.
If you take time to find answer to these questions, you will be able to assess the size of practice of the lawyer
5. Professional Fees
Lawyer’s fees are important things you should look for when you want to hire a lawyer. Though lawyer’s fees are vital factors you should look for, they need not to be the first things you should know.
Most clients had lost service of skilled lawyers because they were very keen to know what their lawyers would charge them. Think of how a lawyer will look at you if the first question you asked him after exchanging pleasantries is his fees. He will just see you as one of dead beats around looking for legal help for free.
You should be able to compare the lawyer’s fee with what you have budgeted for his services so you don’t fall into another problem of default or late payment of professional fees.
If the professional fees of a lawyer are above your budget, it is better to check another lawyer than to run the risk of not paying legal fees. It is better to err in other things discussed above than to err in professional fees.
6. Billing Plans
Billing arrangements of a lawyer are other paramount factors you should look for when you meet a lawyer want to hire. You wouldn’t want to have a scenario where you get stuck working with your lawyer because of accumulated unpaid bills.
So from the outset, you should know what the billing plans of the lawyer are. A lawyer without a systematic billing arrangement shouldn’t even be in your list because that is a sign that the lawyer is not serious and organized.
First, you need to know whether the lawyer offers free consultation arrangement for first timers, or charge clients who are consulting him for the first time. Most lawyers offer free consultation for clients coming for the first time as a matter of policy. That they do this does not mean they are cheap and unskilled.
Secondly, ask the lawyer if he charges hourly or he work on flat rates. Agreement on fees should be premised on the nature of the work the lawyer will do. Preferably an hourly rate is better where the work won’t last for a long time. But if the work is going to take time, you should go for flat rate.
Lawyer’s business location has a lot to do with the services he renders. Lawyer’s office location can affect other considerations positively or negatively. For instance, an experience lawyer whose office is another state is not a good fit for a matter that requires him to represent you in your state Court. Even if you strive to get the lawyer perhaps because of his experience and good professional standing, his transportation will be very high.
Except where a lawyer is not going to represent you in your state court, it essential to look for a lawyer resident within you state. But if the matter is not something that will involve the lawyer making appearances in the Court, then you can source for a lawyer in other reliable places
Internet has made it less cumbersome to get experienced lawyers online. There are great platforms online where you can find great lawyers.
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8. Work Samples
Many clients don’t bother to know if their lawyers have ever done similar job in the past. So most times, they don’t ask their lawyers for samples of work before they hire them.
I discover that most times, clients don’t have the courage to ask lawyers for their word samples. They feel it would hurt their lawyers and make him turn off the switch from them. But what they don’t think about is “who will be on the losing side?” Surely they are the ones.
Hiring a lawyer who has never handled the issue you need help on or who has never done something similar in the past, is a mistake you will want to avoid. The only way you can escape this error is to be bold to ask the lawyer for samples of similar work he has done in the past. The facts and the issues in the sample need not be the same with yours.
You want to subtly get samples of related work from the lawyer you want to hire? Here is how
- During the preliminary consultations or discussions, ask the lawyer name, address and location of his past clients, with similar problem. Paradventure he gives you theses information, you should also try to reach these clients for confirmation. You can reach these clients on phone or email.
- If you find this lawyer online, you should ask for the company or individual he or she had worked for in the past. If he discloses this information to you and you reach out and confirm them, it is the first prove that the lawyer will most likely deliver good job and on time.
You really need an intelligent, expert lawyer, with proven track records. And you deserve the one who will not charge you exorbitantly to handle that pressing legal issue. There is no hard-and-fast rule in locating a good lawyer to hire, it will only take some preliminary effort.
I have briefly listed and explained in this post eight factors you should look before you hire a lawyer. So you won’t incur more troubles to yourself while trying to find solution to the one you already have. This post may not be all you need to know before you can hire a lawyer. But it is a great guide for all of you out there looking for credible and experience lawyer.
Should you, in the course of reading this post, found other factors you think is very vital let’s discourse it below. If you want to know more about me, click here