A piece of advice I wish every person could hear is to find themselves a great attorney. Most people don’t realize they even need one. You may not either, but I guarantee an attorney could make a huge difference in your career, finances, and life.
I myself wish I had found an attorney much earlier than I did. Attorneys are experts in making sure you get what is rightfully yours, whether that be in the form of salary, property, vacation time, or maternity leave. You may read over all of your own paperwork and contracts and not see the need for an attorney, but chances are an attorney will catch something you didn’t, whether it’s a mistake or something intentionally written to mislead you.
When you decide to begin the search for the right attorney to help you with whatever legal help you need, there are a few qualities you should always look for.
One of the first things you will probably ask about when looking to hire an attorney is their rate. Make sure they are not quoting an exorbitant amount, and that the fee matches the job. Call around and get quotes from other attorneys with similar experience and availability to double check you aren’t getting ripped off. Also, remember to ask how long something will take if they charge hourly.
This goes without saying, but the whole reason you’re hiring an attorney is because you want an expert to help you with something you are not an expert in. You can only become an expert with experience, so you need an attorney that knows what they are doing, has worked on similar cases, and has an eye for the specific issue at hand. You also want to make sure they are experienced in the specific sector in which you are seeking legal advice. For instance, while they may know more than the average person, a divorce lawyer may not be the best pick for trademark law. Look for a seasoned attorney in the right area of expertise.
GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS
You will need an attorney who can communicate with you, as well as others, clearly and efficiently, not only because you need to understand what they are telling you, but also to ensure they will represent you well. If they are unclear in their communication, chances are things will not turn out in your favor.
This is not the most important quality in a lawyer; you aren’t necessarily going to an attorney to make a friend. However, you will want someone who can have a rapport with the other side of your legal case (if there is one) as well as with yourself. You want to make sure they have your best interests in mind.
Always, always, always check references. You attorney should have a good track record with their previous cases. Ensure their previous clients were happy with their work, and they always conduct their business in an ethical manner. You also want to make sure they have a history of wrapping up cases in a timely manner–you don’t want an attorney who takes months to read over a contract for you.
Overall, you want an attorney you can see yourself working with. Are they available when you need them? Does it take weeks to get a phone call back? Do they fully understand your goals and needs? Do they get things done in a timely manner? Can you afford this specific attorney? These are the types of questions you will need answers for. Once you find the right attorney, you will be able to rest easy knowing you are getting the quality service you deserve.
Also published on Medium.