When you’re dealing with a legal issue, whether it’s related to a personal matter or the health of your business, you want to work with an attorney who takes the time to understand your situation and concerns — and then develops a strategy that best meets your specific needs.
Ideally, you would be able to form a long-term relationship with your attorney. He or she should be someone you trust to handle your issue, whether you need a one-time consultation or require ongoing counsel.
The good news is that most attorneys are nowhere near as stuffy and intimidating as they’re portrayed on TV and in the movies. And when you find the right professional, you’ll be able to form a positive, long-term relationship.
To start, there are a few common attributes you should look for in your potential attorney:
- Good communication skills: Your attorney should be focused on keeping you constantly informed on the challenges you face — and how you might overcome them. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re always bothering your lawyer to get the information you need.
- Honesty and integrity: Your legal counsel should always be upfront and honest with you, even if the news is bad. Regardless of your circumstances, you will always be in a better position if you have an attorney who is straightforward with you.
- Experience: Make sure your potential attorney has experience in the specific practice area for which you need assistance. If you are dealing with bankruptcy, but the firm in question doesn’t seem to focus on that issue primarily, look at other options.
- Positive results: When you meet with prospective lawyers, they should be able to provide you with examples of positive outcomes they’ve achieved in cases similar to yours. Ask about any testimonials or case studies the firm might be able to show you.
- Personal attention: Rather than providing a one-size-fits-all approach, your attorney should have the time and capacity to deliver personal attention tailored to your situation, needs and goals.
As you begin your search, ask your family members and friends who they have used for legal counsel in the past and to share their experience. You should also look online for reviews. Narrow your search to a few firms and set up an initial meeting. In many cases, law firms offer free initial consultations, so you can get a feel for the type of service you would receive before making a commitment.
During this first meeting, ask questions and take notes. Good questions to ask include the following:
- How long have you practiced law?
- What is your philosophy for representing a client?
- How many cases have you handled? Have you worked with any similar to mine?
- How will we communicate through the process?
- Will we be able to meet in person on a regular basis?
This process can take some time and you may need to meet with several attorneys before you find the right fit for your needs. By considering your specific situation and how you would like your relationship to work, you can make finding your next attorney easier and more efficient.
Lummis & Barkley, LLC is a full-service, general practice law firm committed to providing compassionate advocacy to their clients. Call today to schedule your consultation at 715-341-3170.