Money & The Economy

What You Should Know Before Hiring Your First Lawyer

Whether they’re business or personal-related, there are many different reasons that you may need to hire a lawyer. While the process may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be scary. Lawyers and attorneys are here to help you. Keep that in mind and gain confidence with these tips for what you should consider when hiring your first lawyer.

Are they accessible?

Before partnering with any lawyer, you want to make sure that their communication style meshes with yours, and that they’ll be available when you need them to for answering questions and providing guidance. Find a lawyer who you not only trust, but also feel like you can rely on to be there for you in your time of need. Take communication style into account. If they primarily communicate through email, but you prefer to talk on the phone or need them to be ready to answer questions at the drop of a hat, then they may not be the best fit for your needs.

What is their experience and track record?

You need to hire a lawyer that’s a good fit for you and your personal needs, but you also need to hire a lawyer that has a proven record of success. The hope, of course, is that you won’t actually need to take your legal issues into a courtroom, and can resolve issues outside of a legal battle. However, if you do need to go to court, then you want to make sure your lawyer is not only willing to go to trial, but also has a record of getting positive settlement results.

What is their rate?

At the end of the day, cost is important. One of the worst mistakes you can make in working with a lawyer for the first time is not paying close enough attention to their fees, which can end up hurting you in the end. Be very clear about expected rates in preliminary discussions so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Don’t be afraid to shop around when it comes to hiring a lawyer. You can definitely rely on recommendations from family and friends, as well as review sites. Generally, finding a lawyer that works in your local district or state is a guaranteed way to lock in a lower rate (rather than seeking out someone with a national reputation). So, if you live in Rhode Island, rely on Warwick, RI businesses instead of trying to partner with a lawyer who is farther away, and more likely to be unavailable and more expensive.

How involved will you be in decision-making?

A major mistake you want to avoid in hiring your first lawyer is partnering with someone who makes all decisions on their clients’ behalf without talking without talking to them first. You can protect yourself from this by avoiding lawyers who you think will force you to make decisions that conflict with your own personal judgment. Instead, hire someone who takes your needs into account, and who will listen to you and make you feel heard and comfortable.

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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