Hiring the right lawyer is crucial to the success of your case. Without the proper research, you could end up with a lost case and a significantly smaller bank account. If you need a lawyer, there are 5 things you need to know:
Most lawyers have at least one specialty. Depending on your case, you’ll have to find a lawyer with a particular skillset. When doing your research, go on the lawyer’s website or give them a call and find out what types of cases they generally take on. An important note: if you decide to call the lawyer do not start out with a description of your case! If you mention that you’re looking for a slip and fall lawyer, then the lawyer will more than likely mention slips and falls in their list of specialties. If they do not list a type of case that closely matches yours, they may not be the right choice for you.
Some of these types of cases include:
● Car Accidents
● Divorce and Family Law
● Small Business Litigation
● Slips and Falls
● Medical Malpractice
● Traffic & DUI/DWI
● Education / School Law
● Criminal Law
Some lawyers take on all personal injury related cases. Some will take on all criminal law related cases. If this is the case with your lawyer, then you should focus on their experience in each individual type of case.
When you gather a list of lawyers, you should check out their experience in the field. More specifically, how many cases have they won that are similar to yours. Do not hire a lawyer who has no experience! As with any industry, you become better as you practice. In the case of law, many lawyers do not understand everything that goes into a case without significant experience. For this reason, we recommend hiring lawyers with at least 5-10 years of experience in your case’s field.
3. Trust Your Gut
If your gut says the lawyer is crooked, he probably is. During your consultation, you will likely get a vibe. This vibe will either be a good vibe or a bad vibe. Think about what you like and don’t like about the lawyer and make a list. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Remember: this is an important decision. Also keep in mind that cost plays a huge role in your decision, but should not be the deciding factor. If you feel they are too expensive for what you think you’ll get, then you’re probably right.
On top of this, be sure to do some research. Find the lawyer online and read the reviews on sites like:
● Super Lawyers
You should also take a look at each prospective lawyer’s website for testimonials. Read up on them and see what they have to say.
4. Ask Tough Questions
When you’re speaking to a lawyer, you should ask questions that are tougher than usual. Cover the basics (experience, how they plan to help you, etc.), and then ask questions they couldn’t prepare for. For example:
● What are your weaknesses as a lawyer?
● What negative comments have your past clients given you?
● How many cases have you represented in trial? (Believe it or not, a lot of criminal lawyers have “experience” in the field, but not in the courtroom. Get specific.)
Any lawyer who is looking out for your best interests will answer these questions truthfully. If you have any questions, be sure to ask them before you begin the case. Besides getting deeper insight into the lawyer you’re looking at hiring, you also get to see how they react to difficult questions. In the courtroom, anything can happen. A truly experienced lawyer will tell you the same thing. There’s what we think will happen, what we hope will happen, and what actually happens. In a lot of cases, these 3 overlap, but not always. When difficult questions arise from the judge and they are looking at your lawyer for an answer, you want to be absolutely sure your lawyer can handle the pressure.
5. Get it in Writing
Every stage of your case from the incident itself to the trial date and beyond should be documented. If your lawyer makes any promises, make sure to get it in writing. Some lawyers “guarantee results.” Avoid these lawyers because they will only get you in more trouble than you already have.
If you have any questions about your case, the lawyer, or the firm, be sure to ask the lawyer in your consultation. Listen to your instincts, do the research, and keep your wits about you. Make sure you get proper representation no matter which side you’re on.
If you’re looking for a lawyer in Maryland and are looking for a place to start, please contact us. We’d be glad to answer your questions regarding your case, how we work, or anything else you’d like to know. But before you call, take a look at our practice areas to get an idea of what we do.