If adequate information can’t be found online, or if you would simply rather talk to a human, we suggest that you meet with two or three qualified attorneys who have experience in the area of the law which relates to your particular legal issue. Naturally, this option is dependent on your budget as well. As you meet with potential legal representation, remember to exercise your right to ask them about their qualifications. The following are some ideas to help you during the selection process.
First, you’ll want a few more details about an attorney’s general qualifications. Again, this information can sometimes be found on a firm’s website, if they have one, but if you haven’t already found out, it’s okay and important to ask questions like “how long have you been practicing?” While an answer indicating only few years of experience should not necessarily put you off, some clients will be more comfortable with a lawyer who has had several decades of experience compared to say, several months of experience, depending on the severity of the case. Alternatively, some clients will want a fresh perspective on what may be a more modern legal issue and may opt for a less experienced but more recently educated attorney. The office will most likely have recommendations for you in this regard.
Along these same lines, you may also want to ask what the nature is of the majority of the cases handled at the particular law office. If you require a lawyer because you are being faced with condemnation, you may prefer to use the firm whose cases relate to Condemnation Law 20% of the time, rather than the firm whose cases relate to Condemnation Law only 2% of the time, though they both list Condemnation Law under their areas of practice. It could also behoove you to find out which attorneys, specifically, handle those kinds of cases for that office. This may not make that much of a difference, since attorneys generally consult with the other practitioners in their firm, but the seriousness of your case will dictate the level of expertise with which you feel most comfortable.
It is appropriate to ask about the results of cases like yours that were handled by the particular attorney or the office in general. Asking about case results can seem strange to you, but it’s actually a very normal and suitable question that can help put your mind at ease about the probability of success. This kind of candor can be just as beneficial for the attorney as it is for the client because it allows them an opportunity to showcase their strengths and accomplishments without sounding boastful.
Apart from the interview aspect of selecting legal representation, a lesser but similarly useful bit of research is that which you can do from your home phone or computer. Often times, reviews can be found online and some practices even include testimonials on their website. Be mindful that reviews are not always accurate or a prediction on the level of service you will receive. It is also appropriate to ask other attorneys in the area, but who do not practice in the area of the law your case requires, about the counselor you are considering. Remember however, that competition does not necessarily inspire honesty. Though this investigative technique is generally less reliable than direct communication with potential representation, it can sometimes be beneficial to see what other people have experienced with a single attorney or collective practice. If you choose to take this approach to selecting legal representation, it is imperative that you keep in mind that the opinions and reviews you may find are, more often than not, emotionally affected.
Asking these kinds of questions is important for the selection process and for your edification as a paying client. Remember though, that a worthwhile North Carolina attorney won’t take you on unless they think you have a case that they are qualified to handle. At Fisher Stark, we conduct our business with integrity, meaning we only take on what we are capable of handling and what we believe in. If you have a legal issue that falls under one of our practice areas, or are simply seeking advice about how to select representation, please call us (828 505-4300) to see how we can help.
Last updated 7/5/2015