At some point in your life, you will inevitably need an attorney. You may need to create an estate plan, adopt a child, purchase an investment property or have some other legal challenge. If you have never worked with a lawyer, you may not know where to begin. Therefore, these are some things you should consider before you choose your attorney.
What Do You Need?
Your first question should be, “What legal needs do I have?” You need to clearly define your legal needs. Do you need a family attorney, criminal lawyer or personal injury advocate? Do you need an estate plan, a criminal defense or a legal professional who can walk you through multiple real estate investments? Some firms, e.g., Tully Rinckey, serve multiple purposes, but the first step includes knowing your needs.
Do You Have Short- or Long-Term Needs?
Consider how long you need an attorney. For example, creating a business may require a long-term lawyer because you may need consistent advice. However, a disagreement with a neighbor over property lines or usage may only take a few months.
What Specialization Do You Need?
Like medicine, the law has many fields and specializations. While you may find firms or individual professionals that have multiple specializations, search for those that work in the specialization you need most. For example, a firm may have attorneys that work primarily in business law, intellectual property, bankruptcy and tax law. If you need someone to help you with your taxes, this firm may be the one you need.
Attorneys that specialize in your field have the most knowledge and experience in this area. They provide you with the best service in this specialization. They may also have experience in avoiding or mitigating your challenges. However, if you have a general legal question, you can also seek a general practice attorney. The importance of specialization depends on the size and complexity of your legal issue.
Do You Want To Work With a Small or Large Firm?
Before you hire a lawyer, you should determine whether you want a small or large firm. Many people prefer smaller firms because they receive more personalized service. They also tend to be less expensive. In addition, you can often create a closer relationship with those who work in these firms.
Larger firms tend to be less personal. They often have significant resources, many staff members and more experience. These firms take many cases and often have several specializations. You may find yourself working with the support staff most of the time, and you won’t likely work with the same person all the time. Because they have extensive resources and experience, these firms have higher costs. You also may not receive communications as often as you would like.
When you need an attorney, the type of legal issue you have will determine whether you work with a small or large firm. However, you may decide to work with a small or large firm for your own peace of mind.
Where Is the Attorney Located?
It is always best to work with a firm in your local area. Different jurisdictions have different legal processes. Each state, county and city has different regulations.
Local attorneys also understand what judges, prosecutors and other legal professionals in the area require and need. They can navigate the legal system well when they practice in a specific city or county. You may find firms and attorneys, such as the Attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC, that have multiple locations.
What Experience Do the Lawyers Have?
Many people consider cost first when they search for an attorney. However, experience is often more important than cost. Therefore, search for well-established attorneys with significant experience, especially in the legal specialization you need.
These are some of the things you should consider before hiring an attorney. Prepare to take the time to find the right lawyer for your legal needs.