Finding a Lawyer: Why Price Isn’t Everything

You want to find someone with experience that you can afford, and most importantly, someone you get along with.

June 29, 2022

At some point in your life, you’ll need a lawyer. Whether it’s purchasing a house, navigating a contract, or a myriad of other reasons, odds are you will have to hire a lawyer at some point. To the inexperienced, finding a lawyer can be a bit intimidating. Understanding the law, your rights, and legal jargon isn’t something the average person understands, and it’s understandable to be a little wary of being taken advantage of. However, armed with a few basic questions, you’d be surprised at how confidently you can find the perfect lawyer for your situation.

How long have you been practicing law? What special training do you have?

The first thing you need to establish is a lawyer’s experience level. Are they a veteran with years under their belt? Or are they a beginner fresh out of school? Whether a recent grad can easily tackle your legal issue or not, it’s still important to understand a lawyer’s experience. It’s also a good idea to see if they have any special training besides law school. Depending on your case, a lawyer may need additional skills — tax laws, immigration laws, etc. — beyond a standard law degree.

What types of cases do you usually handle?

It’s equally important to know if a lawyer is particularly experienced in handling cases like yours. There’s a difference between a real estate lawyer that deals with residential properties and one that deals with commercial real estate. Each lawyer has their specialty. Even though a residential real estate lawyer could handle commercial properties and vice versa, they may be a bit rusty in an area they typically don’t handle. It’s always best to go with someone who specializes in what your case calls for.

How do you typically approach cases?

Every lawyer has their own style and philosophy when they take on a case, and it’s essential to consider this when hiring one. For example, do you want an aggressive “bulldog” type lawyer who will push hard? Or are you looking for a peaceful mediator to resolve a matter more amicably? Naturally, the results you’re after will dictate what kind of lawyer you’ll want to hire.

What is the likely outcome of my case and are there other options?

An honest lawyer will be upfront with your chances of winning a case, as well as about any other options worth exploring to avoid going to court. It’s also good to be prepared for the type of trial you’ll likely encounter. A good lawyer will advise you if a court case will likely be drawn out and the chances you have at winning. They’ll also be open to discussing options such as arbitration or other out-of-court options.

How much will this cost?

Before signing on that dotted line, it’s critically important to understand how much the whole process will cost. Will the lawyer be handling everything themselves, or will portions be handled by assistants or paralegals? Who does the majority of the work will determine the cost. On top of that, it’s also worth discussing payment options, like how and when you will be required to pay, in order to be prepared. The bottom line is that you want to know if you can afford the lawyer.

Take the time to find the right lawyer.

Legal cases have the potential to be drawn out and expensive. As such, it’s critical to take your time when selecting a lawyer. You want to find someone with experience that you can afford, and most importantly, someone you get along with. Don’t settle on the first lawyer you speak to—shop around and ask questions. You’re more likely to have a positive outcome if you do.