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So you need an attorney…What is the best way to choose one?
There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing an attorney to represent you. This guide, while not all inclusive, will give you some direction to get started.
There comes a time in most people’s lives when they need the expertise of an attorney. How do you know if you need one? One good way to determine whether you have a legal problem or need legal assistance is to ask a lawyer, but how do you determine which one to call? Do you use the lawyer your friend uses? Look in the yellow book? Online? While these are all good resources for initial contact, retaining a lawyer in this manner would be like throwing a dart at the page and hoping for the best. Here are a few common guidelines to use when making that determination but keep in mind that while most attorneys will give a free phone consultation, their time is valuable. When making an initial call or email, try to be clear as to what the circumstances of your situation are so the attorney you are speaking to can give you an accurate evaluation of your case and you can accurately evaluate the attorney.
Choose an attorney that specializes in the type of case you have.
Many attorneys practice in many areas of law so just because your neighbor uses Joe attorney that does not mean that attorney is right for you. Chances are your neighbors legal needs are not the same as yours. When interviewing attorneys, always ask him or her case-related questions that will help you decide if they are the right fit for you. When the stakes of your case are high, such as with issues of large amounts of money or loss of your freedom, choosing an attorney who does not have enough experience or the right experience for your case could be extremely costly. This is especially true with trial attorneys. If you think your case could end up in front of a jury, make sure the attorney you choose has trial experience.
Choose an attorney that will be available for you.
Some legal needs are more pressing than others and you want to choose an attorney who will be available to answer your questions and be on top of your case needs. Good questions to ask are if other attorneys will be working on your case and what his or her policies are regarding returning phone calls or emails. Ask the attorney for references from other clients. This can be a good source to determine if an attorney will meet both your case needs and your personality. Choosing an attorney that you have confidence in and you can work with is very important.
Choosing a lawyer by the size of the fee may not be a good idea.
You have all heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” This is not always true when retaining an attorney. There are good attorneys that charge minimal fees and not so good attorneys that charge extensive fees. This is where you need to do your homework so you have no surprises. Ask the attorney how he or she bills their clients. Are they hourly or one fee for the case? What items do they charge for? Do they charge for each phone call or letter? What do they estimate the total cost of the case to be? What happens if the case does not go they way the attorney anticipates? Do they work on contingency? In short, the cost of the attorney is relevant but fees should not be the only basis for choosing a lawyer.
When choosing a lawyer, keep practical considerations in mind: the lawyer's area of expertise, prior experience and reputation, availability to clients, amount of fees charged and the length of time a case may take. If you do a little homework you should be able to find an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and confident about the representation they will provide you.
The attorneys at Adams Law Office PLLC specialize in Criminal Defense and Personal Injury cases for citizens throughout Oklahoma. We are located at 2 W. 6th St. Suite 500, Tulsa, Oklahoma. 74119. For more information contact us at 918-587-8700.
Adams Law Office PLLC
525 S Main Ste 525
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103