4 Critical Tips To Consider When Hiring An Attorney

If you're dealing with a situation that you feel may demand the attention of an attorney, it can be difficult to figure out where you ought to turn. How do you evaluate whether a particular lawyer or firm has the skills needed to handle your case? What should you even expect? Here are four tips for you to consider should you decide to hire an attorney.

Free Consultations

The majority of legal practices in the United States offer some manner of free initial consultation before requiring prospective clients to pay for services. Try to take advantage of this. Most lawyers are comfortable answering general questions about a problem in this context. They're also typically okay telling you whether your case is in their expertise or not, and they sometimes point you toward someone whose skills are better suited to your needs.


Some lawyers are generalists, but most try to find at least a set of specialties to build a practice around. It's a good idea to discuss your case with several firms and see which one's areas of practice are best aligned with your needs. If you require the assistance of someone who knows elder law, it's probably no worth going to a criminal lawyer for advice.

Don't Expect a Trial

The popular image of attorneys is that of the trial lawyer, especially as depicted on television and in movies. The reality is that most counsel is provided in a prophylactic role or to avoid trial. The majority of legal matters in the U.S. never end up in court. For example, it's estimated that at least 94 percent of injury claims are settled. A similar percentage of criminal cases are also plea bargained. A number of legal functions, such as contract law, aren't even about filing a claim or refuting charges.


Different types of legal work lead to various payment methods. If a lawyer expects a reasonable settlement to arise from a case, such as a workers' compensation or personal injury claim, there's a good chance they'll take the it on contingency. This means that the attorney accepts the case with the understanding that any fees will be paid out of the settlement, but only if compensation is successfully obtained. In the absence of a potential settlement, such as a criminal case, a lawyer will more likely assess hourly charges. Some basic types of legal issues, such as no-fault divorce, may be covered for a flat fee.