We have created a short guide on choosing your attorney that may be helpful, but there are a number of questions that you should ask to determine if a particular attorney is right for you:
- How long have they been practicing law?
- What type of cases does the attorney ordinarily handle?
- How do they determine their fees?
- What is the attorney’s reputation in the community?
- Are you comfortable with the attorney?
Although an attorney’s years in practice are a good indicator of that attorney’s experience, you also have to ask how long they have been handling cases like yours. If an attorney does nothing but real estate closings for ten years and then begins accepting auto accidents, they obviously do not have ten years’ experience in handling personal injury cases.
For example, if someone calls our office and they are looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, we may help them to find a competent bankruptcy attorney, but we would not accept their case because bankruptcy is not an area of law that we handle.
Attorney Michael Wells has over 15 years experience in handling all kinds of personal injury, criminal, and civil litigation cases, but experience is not the only thing that matters when choosing an attorney.
What is the Attorney’s Reputation?
In general, you should take an attorney’s own statements about their reputation or accomplishments with a grain of salt, and you should do your own independent research. Reputation matters because your attorney will be negotiating on your behalf with other attorneys in the community, and there are times when those attorneys or judges need to trust your attorney.
At Coastal Law, LLC, we work hard to get the best outcome possible for each and every client, but we will not cheat or lie to get results. We are confident that other local attorneys and the courts see us as hardworking, tough, and honest, which is how it should be.
There are different types of fee arrangements that are customarily used in different types of cases. For example, in auto accident cases the attorney’s fee is usually a 1/3 contingency fee that is collected at the end of the case only if there is a recovery. Because the amount of the attorney’s fee depends entirely on the size of your recovery, this motivates attorneys to fight for the maximum possible payout.
On the other hand, fees in criminal cases are usually a flat fee that is paid up front, although some attorneys do offer other options, including payment plans. In divorce or civil defense cases, there is often an up-front retainer and then the attorney will bill an hourly rate against the retainer.
How an attorney charges is as important as how much they charge because it may an indication that the attorney does not ordinarily handle cases like yours.
Are You Comfortable with Your Attorney and do You Trust Them?
This is possibly the most important question. Once you have retained an attorney, you need to trust that attorney to handle your case with your best interests in mind. Once you meet with an attorney, if you do not like them, do not trust them, or do not feel that you will be able to work with them, you should probably talk to more attorneys before retaining someone.
When we accept a client’s case, we want to know that they are comfortable with us and that they will trust us. We understand that the attorney-client relationship is a close one. In order to provide you with the best service possible, we need you to feel comfortable disclosing details with us that may not be fun to share. We always put our clients first and do everything in our power to keep your trust.
Do You Need an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer?
When you schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, we will take the time to answer your questions and determine if we are the right law firm for you. Schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.