Once you've made the decision to hire a lawyer, the next step is to pick a specific lawyer to handle your legal matter. While each state has many lawyers to choose from, choosing the right lawyer can make the difference between a pleasant experience and a frustrating experience. FindLaw's Choosing the Right Lawyer section provides tips on interviewing and researching a lawyer. You can also find information on the different practice areas of law as well as the requirements for becoming a lawyer.
A Few Tips When Hiring an Attorney
It's important to understand that a good lawyer doesn't guarantee that you'll win your case. However, having a good lawyer will give you have the best chances for a favorable outcome and the comfort of knowing that you had the best legal representation. The first step in hiring a lawyer is choosing one in the practice area that is related to your legal matter because this will ensure that the lawyer is well versed in cases similar to yours.
There are a few general qualities that you should look for when choosing an attorney. A good lawyer will have a clear fee structure, which will allow you to figure out if you can afford the attorney's services and let you know what you'll be getting for your money. Another characteristic of a good attorney is good communication because it's important that the attorney keeps you up to date with information about your case. Finally, it's important to research the attorney before hiring him or her. You can often find online reviews from past clients, and you can check to see if the lawyer has ever had misconduct complaints against him or her.
Types of Law Firms
There are many different types of law firms to choose from. Some law firms that consist of one attorney while others have hundreds of attorneys that spread across the country. Generally, law firms are broken down by size, type of practice, or practice area. Picking a law firm will depend on various factors such as your geographical location, finances, personal work preference, and your legal matter.
A solo law firm is exactly what it sounds like – a law firm run by a single lawyer. Solo practitioners, as they are often called, generally handle a variety of topics but may also specialize in one particular area of law. Usually solo practitioners are less expensive than larger firms, and can provide more one-on-one personal attention. On the other hand, a solo firm might lack experience or resources, particularly if the attorney is a recently licensed attorney.
A small law firm, which is also sometimes called a boutique law firm, can have anywhere from 2 to 10 lawyers. A small law firm can often give the feel of a solo law firm, but has the benefit of your lawyer being able to collaborate with his or her coworkers when there is a complicated legal matter. Multiple lawyers can also mean that they can help with a broader range of legal topics.
Large law firms can range from several dozens of lawyers to several thousands of employees including lawyers, paralegals, and administrative staff. Large law firms can exist in multiple cities, states, and even countries. Large law firms often employ attorneys in various legal practice areas, and often have both individual and corporate clients. While you might feel more confident hiring an attorney from a large firm, be ready for a large bill because attorneys at large firms usually charge very high rates.