Are you currently struggling with a legal issue? Read on to find out how to choose the best lawyer to help you sort out your problem.
* 3 min read *
Let’s face it. Lawyers can be intimidating. It’s stressful enough when you’re facing a legal issue, but when the idea of trying to ascertain which lawyer is going to be the best to help you, it can seem impossible. When you type in “find a lawyer near me”, you will be met with a deluge of options. When you have an urgent issue you need to resolve, there is no time to pore over hundreds of listings.
Don't worry, Essia Law is here to help. Here, we give you the criteria to understand whether a lawyer is the right one to to meet your needs.
1. Experience is the Best Teacher
One of the first things that a lawyer should tell you off the bat is which area of law applies to your problem. The way he explains how your problem will be handled would already give you an idea on his level of experience.
Remember general practitioners can help you with general legal work but more often than not, they lack the expertise and experience in specialised or complex areas of law. It doesn’t matter if they belong to a high-profile firm or not, what’s important is that your lawyer is highly proficient in your case. You wouldn’t want a divorce lawyer handling your startup, right?
2. It’s a Ratings Game
Most of the time, we choose movies or shows to watch based on their reviews and ratings. Generally, if people are raving about it, then it must be good. Lawyers have reviews and ratings too, which can help you decide if they are good or not.
While you can’t base your whole decision on the opinions of others, seeing a lawyer who has poor reviews will make you think twice and make you question their credibility. Check Google reviews and their company’s Facebook page (the comments are often an overlooked resource but sometimes there’s juicy stuff there too). Also, check LinkedIn and other online review sites.
3. Communication is the Key
Just like in any relationship, whether personal or professional, good communication is the key to achieving your goals. Find a solicitor whom you can communicate with easily. See how they word their emails. Are they clear and easily understood?
You may also check for redflags during calls. Do they answer your questions with respect? Do you feel that they genuinely care about your problem? If they are condescending, disrespectful, and irritable, then it’s a clear sign that you go the other way.
Also, see how often they communicate with you about your case. A good lawyer should respond to your concern within 24 hours. If they can’t give you a definitive answer yet, they should be able to acknowledge your concern and commit to get back to you as soon as possible.
4. Feel their (Online) Presence
In today’s online world, a website is a window to the lawyer and the firm that they are representing. Check your lawyer’s website and see if there are more testimonials and reviews about their performance. Look into other details such as relevant articles, FAQs, and their general approach to legal issues.
Their website is a reflection of their philosophy and their view on client relationships. Trust your gut and think about how their online presence resonates with you.
5. Track them Down
The internet is a treasure trove of information which can put Sherlock Holmes to shame! You can check your lawyer’s track record of success on state libraries, state Court Websites, or the Federal Court website.
You can also ask the State Bar Association for your lawyer’s professional background. See if there have been any disciplinary sanctions or complaints against your lawyer.
It would be to your advantage if the lawyer you’ll be working with has a magnificent track record of getting the best results for their clients. We encourage you to set the bar high especially if the odds are against you. During tough moments of your legal battle, you don’t need a good lawyer. You need a great one!
6. Know their Game Plan
The Art of War’s Sun Tzu hit the bullseye when he said that “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought”. On your first consultation, your lawyer should lay out his battle plan with you to give you a complete picture of how they are going to approach your case.
If it doesn’t make sense to you or if it doesn’t fit your objectives then there’s no sense continuing with their service.
If you're dealing with a criminal lawyer, for example, ask if he has done a similar case. Knowing that they have already dealt with a case like yours can give you confidence that they know how to navigate your legal journey.
7. Who’s Calling the Shots?
Ideally, the lawyer you engage will be the person who’ll be working with you throughout your case. But, it would be vital to know if he will be delegating some of his tasks to a junior practitioner. Will your lawyer have a “Mike Ross” just like “Harvey Specter”? (Hello, Suits fans!)
If you’re uncomfortable dealing with their number two, immediately inform your lawyer at the very beginning so you’ll both know the next step to take.
If you do not mind having another member in your legal team, just remember to clarify who’s calling the shots. In case you’ll encounter any difficulty, you know who to call first to get the help that you need.
8. The Price is Right
Let's face it, this can be a determining factor. Knowing exactly how your lawyer charges will take away all the guesswork so you can focus on sorting out your issue. Why choose a fixed fee lawyer? Fee estimates, as opposed to fixed fees will throw your budget out of whack. A $5000 quote in the beginning may turn out to be $8000 after all. No one wants that uncertainty, especially now that you’re going through something. Essia Law is a fixed fee law firm because we believe price transparency is important. You will know how much you're going to shell out upfront. We will save you from the unpleasant surprise of receiving an unexpectedly large invoice at the end of your service.
9. Practice Makes Perfect
It goes without saying that your lawyer must hold practising certificates with the law society in their state. You wouldn’t want an uncertified doctor treating you, right? Same goes for your lawyers. Your life is both in their hands so their professional certification is a crucial part of your selection process.
Just a few more tips:
- People often recommend going to the law society in your state such as the Law Society of New South Wales , the Queensland Law Society, or the Law Society of South Australia. If this works for you, by all means give it a shot. We've heard from a lot of customers that find these registers difficult to search unless you're willing to sift through pages of results. Then again, much like Google, you still don't get an indication of any of the above factors to compare one lawyer with the next.
- Don’t ask for referrals from family and friends. More often than not, it doesn’t turn out well. You might end up straining your relationship or sharing a part of your life more than you are comfortable with.
13 May 2021