Choosing an attorney can be one of the most stressful times in your life. Most people don’t need an attorney unless they are in criminal trouble, are being sued or need to sue someone, have a death in the family and need to probate a will, need a divorce, or have some other problematic issue. Obviously, you want to be in the best situation when you choose your attorney, so how do you go about doing it? How do you know that the person you are going to retain will fight for you and do what’s right?
It’s a difficult question to answer, but coming from an attorney, here are a few pointers…
1. Go with your gut instinct. First and foremost, you need to be comfortable with your attorney. There is an attorney/client privilege that will protect anything that you say to him or her (absent a few exceptions) and you want to be able to trust that person. If you do not feel comfortable with someone, do not hire them. Intuition and gut instinct is one of your best bets to rely upon when deciding who to retain.
2. Do some research. Google their name, look at their website, look at other websites and see how that attorney appears. In this day and age, most attorneys have websites. You can get a good sense of who someone is by the picture they portray of themselves on the internet.
3. Make sure the attorney has experience in the area of law. You want to be careful to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in the area of law with which you need help. Fairlie & Lippy prides itself on being trial attorneys excelling in the areas of criminal defense, civil litigation, construction litigation, and personal injury. We know when to say no to certain cases that we do not handle because it would not be in your best interest. An attorney that “dabbles” in all areas of law may not be the best fit for a specialized issue or case. Don’t be afraid to ask an attorney what his or her experience is with similar issues that you have.
4. Rely on people you trust. Word of mouth is the best way to figure out who to choose. Whether it be a friend, a family member or a co-worker, chances are someone you know has worked with an attorney that they like and respect. Don’t be afraid to call that attorney and ask for a recommendation of who to use. We often refer cases out to various different attorneys that handle different areas of law and wouldn’t do so unless we trust their work product.
5. Don’t assume cheaper is better. Money is always an issue, but you need to be careful in that regard when hiring an attorney. As cliche as it may sound “you get what you pay for.” If an attorney quotes you a fee that seems low, then it may reflect on that attorney’s work product. Attorneys don’t have a tangible item they get to sell you so sometimes it is difficult to grasp what an attorney’s fee should be, but oftentimes the services provided are worth their weight in gold.
Should you ever have any cases you want to run by the office of Fairlie & Lippy, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always open to discussing cases with potential clients and if we cannot handle it, certainly we can help guide you in the right direction.