- Does your attorney explain the law in understandable terms? The law is complex and there are many different factors to consider when the law is applied to your legal problem. To make an informed decision, it is important for your attorney to explain to you how the law impacts the problem you are trying to solve, the alternative choices, the risks of each choice, and the course of action that best meets your goals.
- Does your attorney listen to your needs? Is he or she easy to talk to?
- Is your attorney responsive? Will he or she commit to returning your call or email within 24 hours?
- Has your attorney handled similar matters to yours?
- Is your attorney knowledgeable about the legal issues that relate to your legal problem? Does your attorney regularly practice in the area of law that you need? Does your attorney easily answer your questions, or does he or she need to get back to you? While no attorney knows everything, an attorney experienced in your legal matter will be fluent in the issues, able to quickly focus on the relevant issue, and craft a viable plan of action to solve your legal problem.
- Does your attorney charge a reasonable fee? Many clients focus on the attorney’s hourly rate when choosing an attorney. This is a mistake. The hourly rate is only one half of the equation—it is multiplied by the time spent. An experienced attorney will take typically less time to solve a legal problem, so the total cost may be less than the inexperienced attorney even though his or her rate is higher. The experienced attorney spends less time researching basic issues and does not engage in unproductive tasks which he or she knows from experience will not produce results. It has been said that the expensive lawyer will cost less.
- Will your attorney consider alternative billing arrangements? Straight hourly billing is one form of charging for legal services. But, there are other arrangements such as flat fee, contingency, and value billing which may better meet your needs.
- Will you receive a monthly itemized invoice? To understand how you are being charged and what you are being charged for, a monthly itemized statement that reveals the time spent, tasks completed, and money charged is paramount to being informed of the cost of the attorney’s legal services.
- Is your attorney available to spend the time necessary to handle your case and deliver results timely? The best attorney in the world does not help you if he or she does not have the time to give your case the attention it deserves.
- Contact trusted friends, family, and business associates for referrals to attorneys from whom they have received excellent services.