Choosing a law firm to represent you can be a daunting and confusing process, especially when it is not something that most people do on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help guide your law firm selection process so you don’t end up wondering ‘how do I choose a law firm to represent me?’.
1. What type of law does the firm focus on?
You want to make sure that the law firm you choose has experience in areas that matter to you. For instance, if your case involves contracts or real estate law, then obviously you would want to find an attorney who focuses on those areas. You don’t want an immigration lawyer representing you in an employment law dispute! The success of your case depends largely upon having the right law expert at your side advocating for your rights in court or negotiating on your behalf with the other side. Similarly, if you need to attend a court hearing where the law is being discussed, make sure that the law firm can represent your interests in such an environment.
2. Is the law firm local?
It may be tempting to just do a quick search on Google and find various law firms located around the country with phone numbers and websites that appear prominently on page one of the search results. However, this may not be in your best interest as you continue forward with your decision-making process about which law firm to choose for your case. Consider this: law firms tend to have very high turnover rates, so chances are good that if you hire an out-of-town law firm, by the time they actually get on the case, they will be looking for a new job and you’ll have to start all over with another law firm. In addition, law firms tend to work closely with law schools and alumni associations where there is a lot of networking going on between law schools/alumni offices and law firms. This means that anytime you hire a law firm that has a national or international presence, specific attorneys may come in and then be replaced by other attorneys who are newer to specific law areas when it comes down to actually doing the work on your case.
3. What does the law firm charge?
This can be an issue for clients even though they don’t always understand how lawyers’ billing rates work until the process begins. Some law firms bill by the hour, some law firms bill by contingency (meaning that you don’t pay legal fees unless or until your case is won), and some law firms work on an “as-needed basis” with their clients to ensure that services are paid for only when they are used.
4. What is the law firm’s experience level?
You want to find law firm(s) that have enough experience representing people in your situation so that you feel comfortable putting your case into their hands.
5. Will I be able to meet with my law firm face-to-face?
Many people these days do not understand how valuable having a personal connection can be when working with a law firm.
You want to make sure that you feel comfortable working with your law firm and law firm associates, so meeting with them as soon as possible is a good idea. In addition, if your law firm can’t meet with you in person, ask for a meeting over the phone or video chat instead.
In many cases, clients find that they work best with law firms that they have been able to personally meet face-to-face prior to retaining their services. However, whatever law firm you ultimately choose for your legal representation needs to be one where you feel safe and comfortable handing off your case to an attorney who will fight hard on behalf of your rights and interests in court or at the negotiating table.
The law firm you choose does matter. And your law firm should not only be able to represent you and your interests and navigate the law and legal system, but they should also make you feel safe in handing off your case for resolution.