Hiring a lawyer is a big decision. You want to make sure you are hiring the best lawyer for your case. There are many qualities to look for when choosing a lawyer. Here is a list of six top qualities to look for in a lawyer.

Expertise

You want a lawyer who has the necessary experience and expertise in handling cases like yours. So if your case is a personal injury case, hiring an expert injury law firm is the best thing to do. It also helps if they are keeping up to date on changes in your state’s laws. This will ensure that they can handle your case with little difficulty. 

To illustrate, if you are involved in a car accident and the other driver was at fault, then it would be best to hire a car accident attorney. This way they can take care of everything for you and ensure that the other party pays what they owe for getting into an accident with you. 

Confidentiality

If your lawyer lets slip any information about your case without realizing it, it could be a huge problem. Make sure the lawyer you hire is someone who will treat anything that is said during your appointment or when they are working for you as confidential information. This way, no one but the two of you and possibly other people involved in your case will know what’s going on. 

The reason it is so important to keep everything confidential is that if word gets out about what’s going on, it could cause you to lose your legal case. Someone might take the information and run with it and then try to use it against you in court or even reach a settlement before you do.

Availability

You want a lawyer who is available when you need them. You don’t want to be calling your lawyer going back and forth with them trying to set up a meeting time that works for both of you. Make sure they have an open schedule where they can meet with you whenever it’s convenient for you. If a lawyer isn’t readily available, then they might not be the best choice for you. 

To illustrate the importance of this quality, if it’s a Monday morning and you didn’t have a chance to meet with your lawyer during the weekend as scheduled because they were out of town or because they had too much work on their schedule for that weekend, then you might not be able to meet with them until later in the week. That will hinder your ability to make decisions about how you are going to handle your case and also cause you to worry. 

Here’s how to tell if your lawyer will be available in the beginning:


  • Ask how many clients they are currently representing. 
  • Ask whether they will be the primary lawyer working on your case or if someone else will be assigned to it. 
  • Inquire about their work schedule and find out when is the earliest you can meet with them in person, either at their office or over the phone.
  • Try their number and see how long it takes for them to respond.
  • Send them an email and see how long it takes for them to get back to you.

Fees

Another important thing to look at when hiring a lawyer is their fees. Not all lawyers charge the same amount. So make sure you know what the lawyer’s fees are and whether or not they will be billing you for any other expenses such as court costs, postage, or travel. 

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Here are the types of fee structures to expect:

  • Hourly Rates – most lawyers charge by the hour. So if your lawyer’s hourly rate is $100 and they put in 20 hours working on your case, then you will owe them $2000. However, some lawyers might only bill you for what they actually work on (compiled hours) and not their entire work schedule (initial hours). 
  • Flat Fees – some lawyers might charge a flat fee for a specific task or project. So if you need help drafting a will, the lawyer might charge you $200 for the entire project, regardless of how many hours it takes them to complete it. 
  • Contingency Fees – this is a type of fee that is usually charged in personal injury or wrongful death cases. The lawyer will only get paid if they win the case for you. So if you lose, the lawyer doesn’t get any money. 

Integrity

This is probably one of the most important qualities to look for in a lawyer. Integrity is key because it means that they will always act with honesty and truthfulness in all their dealings. This is important because it means they won’t be taking any shortcuts and they will be putting your best interests first. 

To illustrate this point, imagine if you were in a car accident and your lawyer was trying to reach a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. If they weren’t acting with integrity, they might try to lowball you on the settlement or not even mention certain injuries you had that would help increase the amount of money you receive. 

Here are some ways to tell if your lawyer has integrity:

  • Look for reviews online from previous clients. 
  • Check to see if they are members of any professional organizations that promote ethics and integrity in the legal profession. 
  • See if they have any awards or recognitions from organizations that focus on ethics and integrity in the legal field. 
  • Ask the lawyer if they have ever been disciplined by the state bar association for unethical behaviour.

License and Registration

In order to practice law anywhere, lawyers must be licensed by the country or the state in which they are practising. So before you hire a lawyer, make sure that they have a valid license from their bar association. You can usually check this information online on the bar association’s website

When a lawyer isn’t licensed, they are considered an illegal practitioner. All the processes they file are invalid and they cannot argue before a court of law. To illustrate, if you are involved in a case and the lawyer isn’t licensed, the outcome of your case cannot be enforced because it wasn’t made by someone who had the authority to make legal arguments. 

Hiring a lawyer is a big decision. And while there are many important qualities to look for, the six mentioned in this article are some of the most crucial. So make sure you keep them in mind when you’re interviewing lawyers and trying to decide which one is right for you.

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