Four things to consider when hiring an attorney
The process of hiring an attorney can be daunting, especially when you’ve never done it before. Here are four things you should consider if you need an attorney but don’t’ know where to start.
1. Good communication
It’s called an attorney-client relationship, And as with any relationship, communication is key. This is hard to put in tangible terms, but if the vibe is off between you and the attorney, maybe you should find someone else. This can all come down to how the attorney’s communication meshes with your own. Do you like to text or prefer phone calls? Is Zoom ok? Is the attorney able to get vital information to you in a way you can clearly understand?
Not every client is good for every attorney – even good attorneys. That’s because there is an information exchange that happens between an attorney and client. And if there is a problem with that information exchange, there can be long-lasting problems in the case. Notice that the information exchange goes both ways. So, if a client is uncomfortable sharing information with the attorney, that can cause problems as well.
2. Consider your attorney’s experience
Most obviously, you should hire an attorney that handles the type of issue that you have. You shouldn’t go with an attorney that handles contract law for your criminal case, even if you know his uncle and he’s a good guy. Criminal law is very different from family law, which is very different from insurance defense, etc. Make sure you’re hiring the right type of attorney.
Even within specializations, you can drill down even further. You may be talking to a criminal attorney, but does he handle DWIs or murders? Some do both, but the point is that you should find out. Some attorney handle hundreds of DWIs but might face a learning curve when defending a sexual assault. Most attorneys will be up front about this, so the best thing to do would be to simply ask. How many X kind of cases do you handle? How many Y cases? Do you take many cases to trial? Why or why not? Hiring an attorney is a significant event – don’t be afraid to ask questions.
3. Consider your attorney’s caseload
You can usually find your jurisdiction’s docket and search it by attorney. Find out how many cases your attorney is handling at one time. If it’s an exorbitant amount, he or she might not be able to give as much attention to your case. They might even be planning to pass on much of the work to a junior attorney. This in itself is not a bad thing, but they should be up front about who will be handling the majority of the work in your case.
4. Get a second opinion
I would always urge you to meet with several attorneys before making a final decision. As I alluded to earlier, hiring an attorney is a big decision, and it can have long lasting consequences. Even if you got a good impression from the first attorney you meet with, schedule 1-2 more interviews before settling. It will help you get a feel for what else is out there and give you an extra data point to consider.
When hiring an attorney, a lot of factors come into play, including costs. At the end of the day, you should find an attorney that you feel comfortable trusting with significant issues in your life. Your case may take many months or even years, so you want to find someone that will work well in the long term. If you are seeking a criminal defense attorney in Travis, Williamson, or Hays County, or a Personal Injury attorney anywhere in Texas, visit us at atx.legal or give us a call at 512-677-5003 for a free case evaluation.