One size does not fit all – choose a lawyer that’s right for you
If you’re looking to hire a criminal lawyer, you need to find someone who fits your unique situation. The lawyer must be licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and will ideally specialize in a relevant field of law. The lawyer must also fit your budget, and you should be realistic about the amount of money you can afford to spend. Of course, you want the best representation possible, but you don’t want to add money troubles on top of your existing legal troubles.
Think critically about advertising and marketing
Lawyers advertise their services just like many other professionals. It is important to look at advertisements with a critical eye. Ads are meant to sway your opinion and convince you to hire somebody – this can be achieved through honest means, but there are some lawyers who will try to take advantage of your predicament. If a lawyer actively solicits your business take it as a warning sign. Lawyers are not allowed to ‘cold call’ clients and offer their services.
Know what you’re getting yourself into
You should make sure that you understand how much a lawyer will cost you. You should request that a lawyer provide an estimate of fees in writing and ask that they go over the costs with you. If a lawyer makes it difficult for you to access this information, they are not the lawyer for you. Your attorney should be transparent and provide you with all of the necessary information to make an informed decision. Lawyers may charge an hourly rate. Although a cheap hourly rate may seem preferable, it is possible that a more experienced lawyer with a higher fee will be able to solve your case in less time. If your case is a predictable one, a lawyer may charge you a flat fee. Make sure you have a frank discussion about what is exactly covered in an hourly rate or flat fee – nobody appreciates surprise charges.
Be reasonably critical
After you hire a lawyer you are allowed to be critical. After all, you have decided to trust this person with an incredibly important job. While it is in your best interest to develop a healthy professional relationship by being respectful and reasonable, it is important that you know what to expect. Lawyers should be professional – these are just a few indications of professionalism:
- You are updated regularly
- Your calls or emails are returned promptly
- Deadlines are met within a reasonable timeframe
- Upholds solicitor-client privilege
- Billing is discussed openly and clearly
- Your lawyer arrives to scheduled meetings or court appearances prepared
If you believe that your lawyer meets all of the above criteria, you can feel confident about having made the right decision. Remember that you must always trust your own judgment when hiring an attorney – do not be afraid to be picky if a situation does not feel right.