Selecting the Right Attorney and Being a Smart Client

How to select the Right Attorney

Before choosing a lawyer, it’s a good idea to conduct research to find someone that handles cases relating to your particular legal issue. You should also check credentials and ask for references.

You can start your search online. Martindale-Hubbell ( ) is a useful web site. You can search for lawyers by name, location, area of practice or firm. The site includes the lawyer’s date of admittance by the American Bar Association, education and biography.

Before choosing an attorney, check ratings on Martindale-Hubbell. This site rates both the lawyer’s legal abilities and ethical standards. An “av,” the highest form of rating, for example, indicates that the attorney has “very high to preeminent legal ability” and “very high ethical standards.” These ratings are based on the professional’s experience and qualifications.

Also, be sure to ask for references. Ask for names and phone numbers of clients the lawyer has represented. Call or email them and ask how the attorney handled their cases and if they were satisfied.

Finally, establish personal rapport before hiring your lawyer. Schedule an appointment to ensure you get along with them. A good working relationship and open communication is essential.

How to be a Savvy Client

It’s definitely a wise decision to take an active role in managing your legal affairs. Of course, just as you wouldn’t dream of taking out your own appendix, you wouldn’t think of becoming your own lawyer.

You can reap enormous benefits by becoming a more knowledgeable client. Not only do you stand to save money on legal fees, which can easily amount to $200 an hour or more, but you’re also likely to improve your satisfaction with the legal decisions that are made.

Here are some things you can do, without going to law school, to use attorneys and legal services more efficiently and effectively: Find the right lawyer. Look for someone who has a lot of clients and who’s a good listener. Good rapport is essential.

Then, openly discuss with your lawyer all of the details of your legal issues. This, alone, will greatly boost the ability of the lawyer to understand your needs and circumstances and improve the quality of the legal advice you get.

Group your legal issues together. You’ll save money if you consult with your lawyer on several matters at one time.

For example, in a one-hour conference, you may be able to review a will, your lease renewal, and a non-competition agreement you’ve been asked to sign at work.

Write down any questions ahead of time so they will be clear and you’ll remember to ask them. Study up on the law and Play an Active Role.

Today, there are many great resources that provide information on legal issues. You can do a lot of work yourself such as help gather documents, line up witnesses for a trial, or write the first draft of a contract. Your lawyer can then quickly, and inexpensively, review and polish the document, or pick up where you leave off.

Ask Your Lawyer to Direct You. Make it clear that you would like to do as much work as possible yourself with the lawyer’s direction. Many lawyers find it gratifying to impart their knowledge and experience to others.

Show that you’re a valued client. The single most important thing you can do to tell your lawyer how much you value the relationship is to pay your bills on time.

Also, let your lawyer know when you recommend him or her to your business colleagues.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you deal with any legal issues that may arise in a more efficient and effective manner.

A representative will contact you soon to explain how you can have access to thousands of dollars worth of legal services.