Finding the right attorney for your particular needs is super important. Maybe you anticipated needing an attorney. Maybe you didn’t. Once you decide you need an attorney, how do you find the right one? I have some suggestions.
First, look for an attorney who has particular knowledge in the area of law dictated by your needs. You would not use a tax lawyer to handle a criminal case. You can start with an internet search and calling the Arizona Bar Association. Ask neighbors, friends, or people you work with for a referral. If you cannot find a good referral, consider calling a well-respected attorney and ask that attorney for a referral. Attorneys network with each other constantly and usually know how to find a good attorney outside of their own practice. Try to find two to three attorneys so you can set up consultations with them.
Meet with the two or three attorneys in person. During your consultation, make the most of your time. Be sure to take documents and pertinent information to the meeting, and ask questions about your case. You may hear unexpected information, so listen carefully. Consider the following;
- Does the attorney have a communication style that works for you?
- Will the attorney have time for your case?
- If you need, is the attorney available after hours?
- What feedback does the attorney have for your goals for the case?
- What are cost of services? What does the agreement include?
- What are the attorney’s professional experience with your type of case?
- Does the attorney appear to be motivated to help you with your case?
Often, a case will involve more than one area of the law. A custody case may require knowledge of criminal and dependency law. The overlap can be subtle. During your consultation, make sure to ask the attorney about their depth of experience in other areas of the law that touch on your specific case.
Keep in mind that a good attorney is not just someone with legal knowledge. The better attorneys are skillful litigators and communicators who are also trustworthy and ethical. You want an attorney who, when they tell the judge the sky is blue, the judge will believe it to be so without looking up. Trustworthiness is very important.
Once you choose and hire your attorney, make sure to get the most from the relationship. Call with questions, ask for feedback, and listen to advice rendered. Provide your attorney with requested information and trust the guidance you receive from your attorney. Work together to take the best care of your interests and make informed decisions. Better communication between the attorney and client usually renders better results.