Have your or someone you know tried to adopt a dog lately? You must fill out detailed questionnaires. Submit to a background check. Some kennels are even requiring a home visit from a “canine placement specialist” who can determine if Fido will like the dog bed and chew toys you’ve picked out. In the age of puppy mills and Michael Vick it is easy to see why people are being so cautious, but what has emerged is a system for picking out and acquiring a pet that makes the process of hiring an attorney look like a joke.
Perhaps it is time to put a little more thought into the attorney hiring process?
The first thing anyone who is thinking about hiring an attorney should do is a little bit of thinking about what sort of services they need. Just like doctors, attorneys specialize in different areas. If you need an estate plan done, the guy with the annoying commercials telling you to call if you have been in a car accident is probably not who you want to talk to. To find an attorney that practices the type of law you need help with, you might want to talk with family or friends who have had similar issues in the past. Our firm prides itself on the fact that most of our clients are referred to us by a former client who was happy with our work.
If you are not comfortable sharing your legal issues with people you know, you can always go online and search for attorneys in your geographic area that do the sort of work you need done, or you could reach out to the local or state bar association. Bar associations often operate attorney referral services that will connect you with one or more attorneys who might be a good fit for you.
Once you have the names of a couple of attorneys you might like to work with, reach out to them and set up an initial consultation. Our firm, and many others, provide this first meeting free of charge as a way for potential clients to basically interview us and decide if they want to hire us. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything that will help you make your decision. We are not shy about talking about our fees, how we communicate with clients, and our past cases.
During the interview process, you should, of course, be looking for someone who is competent, but you also want to find someone who you are comfortable working with. You must trust the attorney you hire to carry out your requests as carefully and compassionately as they would if they were working someone in their own family. If you aren’t getting a good vibe from a firm, don’t be afraid to walk away.