Before hiring a lawyer, you should have some considerations to avoid paying a lot of money for services that you don’t need or want. Therefore, you should ask yourself the following five questions before hiring a personal or business lawyer to guide your business or family business.
1. How do you bill your services?
This should be the first question you ask after calling an attorney’s office to avoid surprises! Ideally, you know what you want, and you can explain that to your lawyer who should then give you a feedback and a cost range to know if it’s affordable. You should not fear to talk with your lawyer about how he or she bills for the services offered to avoid future problems.
Be very keen to note down the cost of the services available before hiring an attorney to avoid overpaying for the same services. In most cases, you can compare the cost of different lawyers to choose the most convenient as per your budget. When hiring lawyers, it is advisable to hire lawyers who bill their services on a flat fee and project basis because they are economical, unlike hourly basis payment method. However, you can hire an hourly basis lawyer if you are required to appear in court for a limited amount of time. In every event, be very keen to avoid getting unexpected bills from your lawyer.
2. How responsive will you be to my needs all though?
To have an easy time with your lawyer, he or she should be very responsive to keep you updated or in case more information is needed on a case. Most lawyers are non-responsive to their clients because they don’t have enough administrative support in their offices. Therefore, they tend to handle everything by themselves, and they get overwhelmed and non-responsive to their client’s needs. Handling paperwork, arranging and attending other client’s meetings, returning calls of numerous clients, connecting their clients with other advisors, etc. are some of the activities lawyers tend to do alone leading to limited time to attend every one.
You should ask your lawyer how responsive he or she will be before hiring him or her to avoid non-responsiveness. Effective communication is one way to have a good relationship with your agent. Therefore, your lawyer should either have supportive staff who will help you or set a date when you can meet or contact your lawyer whenever you need him or her.
3. How proactively will you communicate with me on an ongoing basis?
It is also important to actively communicate with your lawyer throughout the period you’ve hired him or her to be updated. Ideally, some lawyers do not prefer proactive communication, and they can go for a long period without even contacting their clients! This is wrong because you may have little or no information about your business. A good lawyer should proactively communicate with the client on a monthly basis with a mail and weekly through e-mail. Also, an informative newsletter which is easy to read can also be a means of communication. You should go for a lawyer who proactively communicates with his or her clients to have your needs served well. However, if you make a mistake of hiring a non-communicative lawyer, you will end up being frustrated.
4. Can I get help on any legal problem or just within your area of specialty?
With the world becoming more complicated with time, lawyers have specialized in training with either one or more specific practice areas. There are many areas of specialty to choose from among them personal injury, divorce, business, wills and trusts, bankruptcy, divorce, estates, etc. Ideally, most people do not like hiring lawyers who declare that they are an expert in every field. If you hire a personal lawyer or business lawyer, you expect him or her to help you out with any legal or financial issues that come up in your life.
In most cases, a specialized lawyer is the best choice because they have skills and knowledge to handle what comes their way. If you hire an estate lawyer, you don’t expect him to help you out in divorce or personal injury claims because it not their area of expertise.
However, they can help you find the right lawyer for the job because they can network. When hiring a lawyer, go for a lawyer who has an ongoing service program or membership program in play because:
• You will pay a low monthly fee
• You will be able to get help with all your legal and financial questions without being charged hourly for the consultation services offered
5. What happens if you die or retire?
It is paramount to know what will happen if your lawyer dies or retires while still hired to offer you services. Most people who are hiring lawyers feel uncomfortable to ask this question, but you should not take any risks. Ideally, a client service provider professional will always have a plan to ensure that their clients are taken care of no matter what happens in future.
You should have the following answers:
• That your lawyer has a plan for another person to take over your issue without interrupting the service in case he or she dies or retires
• You expect your lawyer to have prepared a will, Trust or any relevant estate planning documents for you to avoid starting all over again
• Also, if you are on a membership program with your lawyer, you expect that he or she has a good relationship with a lawyer or a network of lawyers who are capable of continuing to offer you services under the same program with no additional costs.
After getting the right answers for the five (5) questions, you will be able to hire a reputable lawyer who will help you make the best decisions about your family and business. You should not haste in hiring a lawyer because you may end up making a wrong choice. In fact, you should do a thorough research online or get referrals from friends to narrow down your choices before hiring a lawyer.