Choosing a Lawyer
We respect lawyers’ rights to advertise. That said, an advertisement is not the best way to pick a lawyer. The same could be said for any lawyer’s website, including this one. Referrals may be useful from a friend who has had a good experience with a lawyer, or from another lawyer whom you trust, but those referrals are not foolproof either. Getting down to it, there really is no substitute for talking to a lawyer and actually getting a “feel” for him or her and for his or her firm. We imagine you have experience for example of knowing two doctors of roughly equal competence, one of whom leaves you cold while the other suits you very well. Lawyers and the variations among them are no different.
A lawyer is not simply “good” or “bad” in the abstract (although there are both generally excellent lawyers and generally abysmal lawyers). The real question is whether a lawyer is good for you. Admittedly, that takes a little time to size up. As for us, we are reluctant to begin charging a client until we have talked with him or her at least briefly and determined what legal services they can use and whether we can be of real help to them. We use this time also to become acquainted with our potential client, and frankly to determine whether this client is a good fit for us. That is not necessarily the case with every person who comes through the door.
As with any professional or specialist you may consider hiring, whether it be a lawyer, doctor, car mechanic or plumber, trust will have to play a factor. Practically speaking, once you hire them there will be some things they will do or propose to do for you that you simply cannot from your own experience independently evaluate or verify the quality of. In other words, to some degree you will simply have to put yourself in their care with some faith that they understand your situation, are doing the right things generally, and are doing the right thing for your specific situation, even if you cannot verify that for yourself.
The aspect of trust is therefore a key to choosing a lawyer; namely, whether this is someone you can trust and feel comfortable with having him or her take steps on your behalf even when you cannot be exactly sure what those steps involve or mean. This is not to say you won’t be closely involved with your lawyer’s recommendations and activities, and this is something we expect and encourage with our clients, but you will want to select a lawyer that you can have faith in and feel comfortable relying on even when the technicalities and details escape you.