Did you recently get into a car accident? Were you charged with a DWI? Did the Social Security Administration deny your claim for disability benefits? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will need a lawyer. However, how do you know which law firm to choose? Who will be “the right lawyer” for you and your legal needs?
Let’s face it: You see lawyer advertising everywhere today – on billboards, TV, social media sites and all over the Internet. Those ads may actually help you to get started on your search for a lawyer. But you should not rely on advertising alone when you choose an attorney for your case. You should try to go a little deeper in your research.
You can start by taking these four steps before your hire a lawyer:
- Review the lawyer’s website. The attorney’s website can provide a wealth of information, including information about the lawyer’s education, experience, practice areas and approach to serving clients.
- Check the lawyer’s background. If the lawyer has prior sanctions for unethical conduct, it should be a red flag. In Texas, you can check on an attorney’s public disciplinary history at the State Bar of Texas directory.
- See what others say about the lawyer. You can learn a lot about a lawyer through former clients’ testimonials or the reviews they leave on sites such as Avvo. If a friend or family member worked with the lawyer, you should ask them about their experience. Would they recommend the lawyer to you?
- Meet the lawyer in person and tour the law firm’s office. You will get to know the lawyer and his or her law firm a lot better if talk directly with the lawyer and see the office in person. For instance, if the lawyer is patient, calm and listens to you, then those are good signs. If the lawyer tries to rush through your meeting and appears to have little interest in learning about you and what is important to you, those are probably bad signs.
As you take these steps in your search for a lawyer, you should get answers to these five questions before you pick a lawyer for your case:
- Does the lawyer have experience with cases like yours? If you were hurt in a car accident, for instance, you will want to work with a lawyer who has handled those cases before. Experience makes a difference. If a lawyer has handled numerous car accident claims in the past, the lawyer will know how to investigate your case, deal with insurance companies and prepare the case for settlement or trial and, above all, seek the maximum compensation for your losses.
- Will the lawyer be the one who works on your case? Every law firm is different. Some firms rely heavily on case managers, paralegals and other staff members to handle cases. At other firms, the lawyers are heavily involved and handle every detail of the case from start to finish. Which type of system appeals more to you?
- What will the lawyer cost? You have every right to be concerned about paying for a lawyer. You should find out if the lawyer will charge you by the hour, offer a flat fee or provide you with another option. For instance, many lawyers will offer a contingency fee arrangement for car accident and other personal injury cases. Under that arrangement, you pay nothing unless the attorney secures a settlement or judgment that provides you with a financial recovery.
- Will the lawyer keep in contact with you? Whether your case involves a personal injury claim, disability benefits claim or a criminal charge, it could take many months to resolve. You should look for a lawyer who will update you throughout the process and make sure that you know what is happening. The lawyer should also promptly return your calls and address your questions and concerns.
- Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer? Your legal matter is a personal matter. It means a great deal to you and your future. You want to make sure that the lawyer you hire understands you and what is important to you. You should feel confident that you can trust the lawyer to always put your best interests first and make your case a top priority. In short, pay attention to your “gut feeling.” It may be best indicator of whether you should choose the lawyer for your case.
If you would like to learn more about what it would be like to work with Kraft & Associates, P.C., please feel free to give us a call or drop us a note through our online form. Since 1971, we have helped clients with a wide range of legal needs in Dallas, Fort Worth and throughout the region. We would be glad to provide a timely, free and confidential consultation.