When it comes to legal matters, there are many things to consider when deciding to seek the help of a lawyer. Whether you’re seeking legal help or looking for good advice on a particular topic, there are several things you need to do before contacting a law firm.
The law office or firm has become an essential part of people’s life. You might want to hire a criminal law attorney when you get into trouble with the law. This is especially true if you face criminal charges or family court issues. However, you might encounter several problems when looking for a local attorney. For instance, attorneys are notoriously expensive, and finding someone who fits your budget can be challenging. In addition, some lawyers only accept clients through referrals, and others won’t take your case unless they receive a referral fee. As a result, you might be forced to deal with an uncooperative lawyer or waste time searching for a good fit. Here’s what to do before calling a law office.
1. Know What Kind of Case You Have
The first thing you need to do before contacting a law office is to find out their area of specialization. Lawyers have different specialties depending on their area of expertise. Some focus on family, divorce, criminal, immigration, personal injury, and civil litigation. Others only focus on business law, contracts, intellectual property, real estate, or bankruptcy law. Once you know what field you would like them to take care of, look for an attorney specializing in that field. You want someone who knows how to handle cases similar to yours. Ask around, get recommendations and research each lawyer thoroughly. If a lawyer doesn’t fit your case, they probably won’t be able to give you quality service.
2. Prepare Your Documents
Once you know a lawyer’s area of specialization, prepare your documents before calling them. Most attorneys often require seeing documents to evaluate your case correctly. For example, if you’re calling about a criminal matter, the criminal attorney will probably want to see a copy of your arrest record or the police file. The same goes for a divorce, bankruptcy, or disability lawyer where documentation is necessary. Besides, you may not think you need copies of your bankruptcy papers, but they could prove helpful to the bankruptcy lawyers trying to represent you. Ensure you have copies of everything you need ready ahead of time. Scan them and save them electronically to make sending them much more manageable.
3. Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Many people call lawyers while knowing little about their particular legal issue. In that case, don’t expect the lawyer to know everything about your case. In fact, they may not be prepared for every other case scenario. Instead, focus on answering the questions asked of you. For example, you might tell an auto accident lawyer how long you’ve been driving, where you live, and what kind of job you had at the time of the accident. Besides, if you bought a defective vehicle, you may need to tell a lemon law firm about the condition of your car to avoid making legal mistakes. These are just a few examples of things they might ask you at the beginning of the conversation.
4. Clearly Understand What You Want to Achieve
Every situation in a criminal case is different. If you’re filing a claim under workers’ compensation, file with the company directly instead of going through an accident injury lawyer. Sometimes, getting a lawyer involved may be unnecessary. However, if you have a complicated dispute regarding property division, child custody, or business ownership, seek professional help. Find out what outcome you are looking for before calling a law office. Then, you can decide whether you want to hire them or not.
5. Avoid Seeking Advice From the Legal Team
Do not seek legal advice from your attorney’s assistants or paralegals. These employees work at the direction of your attorney, who may have his or her own opinions about what he or she thinks the law should allow. The legal team’s job is to follow orders and give legal advice based on given instructions. Thus, it would be best to get legal advice directly from your attorney. In addition, contacting the wrong attorney could cost you dearly. Hiring a poorly trained attorney may be more expensive than had you never hired them. Some attorneys charge exorbitantly high fees for their services, unlike those who are thoroughly vetted and work only for reasonable rates.
6. Avoid Seeking Advice From the Legal Team
Another thing you shouldn’t do before contacting a law office is provide more information than necessary. When you tell the attorney something, they may decide not to use it on the case. In fact, telling them everything could work against you. The only information you can give a lawyer is the bare minimum. You’re not legally obligated to disclose anything about your case unless specifically asked. A lawyer can’t represent you unless he knows your case’s facts. That means it’s their job to find holes in the plaintiff’s evidence and present their side of the story. In essence, you’ll often find out later that what you thought were essential details aren’t relevant to the case.
7. An Attorney May Refuse To Work on Your Case
Before calling a law office, understand that many establishments are busy serving clients. So, when you contact a law office, it might sound like the person on the other end sounds rushed. The reason may be the law firm cannot take on any more cases. In that case, you must be patient if you know the law is on your side. This means waiting until the law firm accepts your case. If you haven’t been referred to another attorney, you need to wait until you speak with the attorney you were referred to. Some people aren’t ready to go it alone. As such, it might be an excellent idea to talk with your friends, family members, or neighbors about finding an attorney. Ask them if they have heard of anyone specializing in your specific case. That paves the way for them to recommend someone they trust.
8. Verify the Lawyer’s Conflict of Interest
Nothing is worse than dealing with a lawyer with conflicts of interest. A row of interest occurs when a lawyer represents both parties in a dispute. In these cases, the lawyer may have a bias in favor of either party, which makes them unable to evaluate the matter objectively. There are many ways a lawyer could develop a conflict of interest. One example is if a lawyer previously represented a family member or friend in a similar situation. Another way is where a lawyer represented a business partner years ago and now wants to represent the opposing side in a lawsuit. If you’re interested in finding out whether a lawyer has any conflicts of interest before hiring them, do your research about their personal experiences with lawyers they’ve met. If they’ve had problems with the same lawyer in the past, you might run into that trouble too. Before contacting a law office, ensure the lawyer has no conflicts of interest.
9. Be Honest
Many people think lawyers are out to make a quick buck. However, most lawyers take pride in providing their customers with quality legal services at affordable rates to their customers. Ask yourself if you’re honest with your attorney and if they can give you an accurate estimate about the cost. If you’re expecting a big payday, you might end up disappointed. Remember that you may pay lawyers even after getting the result. Being honest may also be helpful, especially when seeking a bail bondsman for your release before trial.
10. Understand the Legal Process
It’s essential to understand the legal process before calling a law office. Know what documents you need to fill out, how long the case might take, and whether they have a good chance of winning their case. Contact the lawyers again if the federal criminal defense office does not ask you questions about the process or if you are unsure of anything. You should never feel pressured to decide without fully comprehending the situation. Besides, know what you want before contacting a law office. Moreover, do not just send the paperwork to a law firm and expect the desired outcome. When people speak with lawyers, they often realize they overlooked or received misleading advice about the case.
11. Know How Much Money You’d Like to Spend
Before contacting a law office, you need to know how much money you want to spend on the case. If you don’t know how much to pay, ask yourself these questions; Do you think you might lose more money if you don’t take legal action? Is it worth spending any amount of money at all? Answering those questions will help narrow down what issues you want to focus on. You could call a lawyer to determine a reasonable price range or look online for a free consultation. Once you’ve decided how much you’d like to pay, the next step is finding out how the attorney will help you.
12. Be Patient When Selecting the Right Attorney for the Job
When contacting a law office, ensure you don’t just pick anyone who will take your case. Your first step in finding the right lawyer is researching independently. Do some background checks on the attorney to ensure they’re reputable. A great way to find an attorney is to look at their website. If they have any social media profiles, check them out to feel their professionalism. You want someone pleasing and easy to work with.
13. Check Their Experience and Reputation
A lawyer’s experience often makes them qualified to take on your case. An experienced attorney has dealt with many cases similar to yours. They know what you’re going through and can anticipate possible problems. A lawyer doesn’t just know the rules; they understand how to navigate the system and take you through the process. In addition, a lawyer’s service quality depends on their reputation among peers, courts, and the business community. Before engaging a law office, ensure you know they’ve handled such matters in the past. Also, learn how many people they represent, how many verdicts or settlements they’ve won, and what percentage of their clients win their cases.
14. Know Their Communication Channels
You need to find out if the lawyer can communicate effectively before calling them. Are they open to sharing information with you? Do they send updates regarding the case? Do they respond to emails and phone calls promptly? How long after filing will they contact you about the case status? These are just a few things to look out for before contacting them. A lawyer’s poor communication style shows their lack of interest or doesn’t know how to communicate with clients properly.
15. Get a Second Opinion
When contacting a law office, don’t be afraid of asking for a second opinion from another lawyer. Sometimes, you can give your first impression greater weight than they deserve. You can focus so much on making yourself suitable without considering both sides of the situation. Having another set of eyes looking at the facts and arguments of your case can be helpful. If you don’t wish to contact another lawyer, try to find a friend or colleague who will review the details with you.
16. Understand the Risks Associated With Hiring an Attorney
It would help to consider whether you’re willing to risk losing money by hiring a lawyer. There’s always a chance that you could lose your own money, and some attorneys can cost you money if you don’t pay them promptly. Lawyers rarely want to work for free, but they’re compensated at different rates depending on how many hours they spend working on your case.
If you’re considering contacting a lawyer, there are some things you need to ask first. Some lawyers provide free consultations and won’t take you on until you pay them. Others charge hourly rates, and that’s how much their services cost. While there are no guarantees, using these tips will increase your chances of finding an excellent legal representative.