Useful Tips for Clients Before Hiring an Attorney

Unless you’re one of the fortunate few, at some point, you’ll need to hire an attorney to help you with a legal issue. There are many types of attorneys, and depending on your legal needs, you’ll need to know what type of attorney you need. Use these 3 useful tips to help you find one.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help you draft a will, you’ll need an attorney with probate law experience. If you’re looking for an attorney to help you out of a traffic ticket, you’ll need an attorney with an understanding of traffic laws. If you’re involved in a criminal matter, find a criminal law attorney. If you’re in a situation where you’re involved in a personal injury matter, find an attorney who practices personal injury or PI law. If you’re involved in a divorce, separation or custody dispute, you’ll need to find an attorney with family law/domestic relations experience. If you need an attorney to help you with a real estate or property law issue, find one who knows a good deal about property or real estate law. Experienced real estate lawyers can make a huge difference in your case.

TIP 1: Consultations.Your attorney may offer you a free consultation. This is commonplace for personal injury, traffic cases and criminal law. It’s less common for real estate issues and family law. For probate law, many probate lawyers offer free consultations if you hire them and will include it in their fees, and they often offer flat-fee arrangements. Finding a lawyer, especially a reputable one, means you may pay for an initial consultations. Some attorneys will offer limited, (typically a few minutes) free phone consultations. Understand that if you receive a free consultation, you’ll probably only receive very limited information from the attorney, and rarely, will you receive specific legal advice. I find that the old adage holds true with attorneys and initial consultations: You get what you pay for, so if the consultation is free, there you go; attorneys aren’t going to give you free legal advice.

Tip 2: Research the attorney. Use public information filed with the Virginia State Bar before going in for aninitial consultation. In Virginia, the Virginia State Bar provides public consumers with information regarding malpractice insurance and with information regarding past disciplinary action. At the time I wrote this blog, the Virginia State Bar did not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but those who don’t carry it need to disclose such with the Bar. Malpractice insurance for attorneys is important, in my view, since if you have a malpractice complaint against an attorney, you may not get any financial award for the attorney’s failure to comply with a rule governing attorney conduct in Virginia. As far as Bar complaints go, you should use your discretion.

Tip 3: Research your attorney’s background.
If your attorney has little experience or is new to practice, you should use your discretion there, too. An attorney with little experience may often struggle with your case and spend more time than necessary. However, on the flip-side, an attorney with little experience may do better handling your case because he/she may not have biases or preformed notions of other attorneys and judges that attorneys with a lot more experience may have. Generally, you should hire an attorney that’ handled your specific type of legal issue before. Ask before you leap. You can ask, “Have you handled this type of case before? If so, were the results since graduating from law school.Finally, if you’re not happy with your attorney, you can ask them to withdraw from representation. There are plenty of other attorneys to choose from.

If you’re looking for a Virginia attorney, contact Keithley Law today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.

Legal Disclaimer: Do not rely on this site for legal advice. The information provided on “Keithleylaw.com” is strictly for educational and advertising purposes and to provide you with general information. Since state laws are subject to change, please schedule an appointment with our office to further discuss your personal situation. This public information is neither intended to, nor will, create an attorney-client relationship.

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