Most people do not enjoy going to the dentist, eating broccoli, or undergoing a routine colonoscopy. But it is a necessary part of life. Likewise, you might find researching and hiring litigation attorneys a tedious task, but a necessary part of life. Maybe you don’t foresee ever needing a personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit, but you will most likely need an estate planning attorney, a financial advisor attorney, and perhaps a business attorney at some point in your life. All of these necessary legal experts are litigation attorneys.
The most important factor is finding the right attorney for your issue. Hiring the wrong attorney could make your legal issue more complicated and cost you more in the long run. We’ve compiled a list of six assumptions that people make when hiring an attorney that leads to this mistake:
- ASSUMPTION: The more experience, the more capable the lawyer.
How often do you hear a law firm’s advertisement boast that they have “one billion combined years of experience?” This is just an easy number they can throw at you to catch your attention. The years of experience that firm has does not speak to their experience (and more importantly, success rate) with your specific circumstances, or if the specific attorney assigned to you will be useful on your case.
- ASSUMPTION: The more well-known in the firm, the more capable the attorney.
Well-known law firms that have catching the commercials often have the greatest caseload. This means that you are less likely to get individual attention from the litigation attorneys on your case, and less likely to get a quick callback if an urgent need arises.
- ASSUMPTION: The more expensive (or least expensive) the attorney, the better their performance will be.
The most expensive attorney does not equal the best attorney. Finding the cheapest attorney can also be a big mistake for the same reason; the dollar sign on the invoice doesn’t indicate the competence of the attorney. Of course your legal fees are probably going to be a consideration, but it should not be an essential factor.
- ASSUMPTION: Your lawyer knows more than you about the legal implications of your issue.
You’re a legal issue will be resolved through a partnership between yourself and your attorney. The more you understand and the more your lawyer knows about your situation, the better your chances for a favorable outcome. Do not be afraid to ask questions, so that you really understand the legal implications of your situation, and to help you find a lawyer that you know you communicate well with.
- ASSUMPTION: If you like and trust the first lawyer you meet with, you should stick with them.
Most litigation attorneys will provide an initial consultation for free. Even if you really trust the first attorney that you meet with, there’s no harm in interviewing a few more. The more attorneys you meet with, the more confident you will be when you make a hiring selection.
- ASSUMPTION: In initial consultations, what a lawyer tells you is what you’ll get if you hire them.
In most cases, your lawyer is going to treat your case ethically. However, oral agreements are hard to prove in the case of miscommunications. Make sure you have a comprehensive contract in writing before you go into business with a lawyer.
Do you have any other tips for finding a good litigation attorney? Please share them in the comment section below.