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How to Choose an Attorney

Our book How to Use Legal Forms takes you through how to choose an attorney step-by-step, how to work with them effectively, and how to manage fees. In this article we cover some of the things to consider when selecting an attorney.

The key to selecting the right attorney is not to be afraid of asking questions. A good attorney will be happy to see that you are a conscientious client who has put time into thinking about the criteria to use to select an attorney, and will be happy to answer your questions.

Some of the key things to be covered in the interview process are:

  • Licensing: this is basic, but make sure that the attorney is licensed to practice law in the state of the contract’s governing law. Another basic check is that your attorney has adequate malpractice insurance in place
  • In addition to the appropriate licenses, it is often the case that a good practitioner will be a member of the local bar association so it is worth asking if they have any such memberships. If an attorney has given a talk on the topic in question that is another good sign, especially if it is a lecture to his peers
  • You want to make sure that they are experienced in your area, and you should ask how long they have been practicing law. The answers to these questions need to be considered together
  • With all these questions to the attorney, it is important not to forget to ask what level of involvement they will actually have in your case. If the bulk of the case is to be handled by colleagues and paralegals you should know this at the outset. Effective management of junior attorneys is a good way to manage costs.
  • Costs are an important topic to cover with your attorney. To effectively estimate these you will need to discuss the possible direction and outcomes of your case, as this will impact the time and cost. Remember also that fees are not the only costs that you will need to pay – there are expenses too

Be Prepared
When you meet with a potential attorney you want to find out whether they are suitable to handle your case, and to assess that you need to be able to communicate to them clearly what your cases is about. Before your meeting you should prepare the details of your case in a written document.

You need to ensure that you note the date and location of all the relevant actions, and in detailed cases it may help to draw up a timeline. For all people that are part of your case you should clearly define what their relationship is to you and provide their contact details where available. You want to be able to create a clear picture of just what happened so you may want to include photos, diagrams and maps. All relevant documentation should be gathered in advance of the meeting such as: ownership records, official reports, loan agreements etc.

Types of Attorney
Every area of the law is specialized and state-specific so you need to take the time to find an attorney that is appropriate for your case. A great criminal defense attorney would likely make a lousy personal injury attorney because he would not have the experience required.

An example of the special skills that the different areas of law require is clearly illustrated when choosing a divorce attorney because you need someone with more than just legal skills. You need someone who is a great communicator and sensitive to the personal as well as legal issues. In selecting a divorce attorney you would put more weight behind factors such as common sense and perceptive communication that you would when selecting an attorney in other practice areas.

Further Information
For further information we recommend that you purchase How to Use Legal Forms. To buy now just click here. The courts are clogged with people who entered into agreements that don’t afford them the protection they thought they did at the time. Some of the most common mistakes are people using outdated forms that don’t take account of new laws that have been passed, and the inclusion of terms that are unenforceable under the jurisdiction that governs the agreement. The book How to Use Legal Forms helps you avoid these pitfalls.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the email mini course, which delivers more information on legal forms direct to your mailbox. Just enter your name and email into the contact form at the top right of this page.

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