4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Law Firm

Hiring a law firm to address a legal issue that you are facing is a very important decision. There is a lot that you as a client should want and expect from a law firm. However, you should not take shortcuts or act impulsively, even though you feel anxious and pressured to hire someone. Do your homework and make the best decision you can make, one that you feel good about and are comfortable with. This will greatly increase the likelihood that you will have a good and productive experience with the lawyer and support staff in the law firm you hire. It will also provide you with the best opportunity for a positive outcome.

There are four questions that are important to consider when determining which law firm is the right one for you;

  • Does the law firm have a track record of success in the area of the law that you need help in?
  • Does the law firm have the people and the technology to provide you with efficient and cost-effective services and representation?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the lawyers and staff that you have met? Does this feel like the right place for you?
  • Does the law firm have a good reputation?

Gathering Information:
So how do you go about gathering information on law firms in your area? First, internet searches will provide a significant amount of information. This includes law firm websites, articles, publications, and client reviews. Your friends, neighbors and acquaintances can also be a good source of information. This could include those you know at work, in local businesses, youth sports, your local work-out spot…wherever you have connections with people in the community. It is also very important to have a meeting (a consultation) with a lawyer in the firm you are considering. You will learn a great deal in this meeting that will help you make a final decision.

Questions that you should address as you do your fact finding;

1. Does the law firm have a track record of success in the area of the law that you need help in?

You should start by doing a google search of lawyers in your area. Be specific. If you are looking for a criminal lawyer, do a search of criminal lawyers. If you are considering a divorce, then divorce lawyers. If you need help with an injury, personal injury lawyer. The same with bankruptcy or any other issue that you are dealing with. Review the websites of the law firms that are listed, including web pages dedicated to the area of law you need support with and the backgrounds of the lawyers and the support staff. There may also be a blog with articles and a client testimonials page.

The consultation with a lawyer is very important. You’ll describe your legal issue and there will be discussion focused on that. This will tell you a lot about the firm’s experiences and capabilities in this area of the law. Remember that you are not searching for a lawyer that can handle your case. You are searching for a lawyer and a firm that you feel can do the best job in representing you in your case and getting the best possible outcome.

2. Does the law firm have the people and the technology to provide you with efficient and cost- effective services and representation?

This information will come primarily from the consultation. Ask the lawyer you are meeting with about the other lawyers in the practice as well as the paralegal and other support staff. If you have a question or need to talk to someone in the firm how will that work? How quickly will someone get back to you? Who will your primary contact person be? If you need to talk to your lawyer, perhaps for reassurance and nothing else, will you be able to do so in a reasonable timeframe?

You can also learn a lot by asking the lawyer about how the firm uses technology. What are the various ways that the firm will communicate with you? Will the lawyer be able to immediately access all documents and conversations when talking to you about your case? How does the firm use technology to gather the facts and develop the information in support of your case? You will want to deal with a firm that uses technology to support their clients in ways that are efficient as well as cost-effective.

3. Do you feel comfortable with the lawyers and staff that you have met? Does this feel like the right place for you?

The consultation will last about an hour. You may be in a conference room or a lawyer’s office. After the consultation ask for a brief tour of the law office so that you can say “Hi” to several of the support staff and perhaps another lawyer. This will give you a good sense of the office and the people that work in the firm. Remember, first impressions are usually accurate. Questions that you should ask yourself; Do I feel comfortable and at ease? Do I feel that the lawyer I met with is someone who I will be able to communicate with and be open with? Does it feel as if I have come to the right place?

4. Does the law firm have a good reputation?

You will want to be reassured that a law firm is respected in the legal community. There are a number of very reputable online sources that can help you with this. One is Martindale-Hubbell which provides a profile of the law firm as well as peer (other lawyers) and client reviews. Another is AVVO which provides information on the firm, the lawyers within the firm as well as client reviews. Another good source of information is Justia, which has a law firm directory with lawyer profiles focused on the various areas of the law.

Another good way to obtain reviews from a law firm’s former clients is Google reviews. Each review includes a rating and comments from clients regarding their experience with the law firm as well as any response to the review that the law firm has provided. Google reviews, combined with client reviews from the other sources noted above, can provide you with a good understanding of what former clients have to say about their personal experience and the legal support provided by the law firm.

Hiring a law firm for your legal issue is a very important decision. Do your homework and gather the information you need to make the decision, one that you feel good about and are comfortable with. This will put you in the position to have a positive experience with your lawyer and support staff as well as the best opportunity for a positive outcome to your legal issue.

At Dozier Law, P.C. we are committed to providing legal support that delivers the best possible results for our clients. Our focus is on the following areas of the law…family law, bankruptcy, personal injury, criminal defense, wills/trusts/estates, and civil litigation.

For additional information, go to the our Dozier Law P.C. home page.