Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney
If there ever comes a time in a person’s life when they need legal help, most people don’t know where to turn. Finding a lawyer is a daunting task that takes time and patience. Finding a GOOD lawyer takes more than that; it takes trust. But how are you supposed to come to trust a total stranger? And where are you supposed to find a lawyer in the first place? Hopefully, I can give you a head start.
Start by asking your friends, family, and coworkers for a recommendation. Even if they give you a name of someone who doesn’t practice in the field you need help with, give that attorney a call. (HINT: Lawyers know other lawyers!)
You can also talk to your employer. Many companies offer discounted legal services through an EAP, or Employee Assistance Program. But what is an Employee Assistance Program? These types of programs provide free or reduced legal services for the employees of that company. Taking advantage of an Employee Assistance Program will definitely save you some money.
If you don’t have anyone to ask, or feel uncomfortable discussing your issue with the people closest to you, you can always turn to your local Bar Association. The Bar has a lawyer referral service of all attorneys in your state, and can match you up with someone experienced in the practice area you need.
Chances are, you have a long list of attorneys to choose from. How do you know which is right? To narrow down the list, I suggest you check with the local Bar Association once again to see if the attorneys on your list have ever had disciplinary action taken against them. Find out when and what the disciplinary action was for, before you make any decisions. Do some Internet research! Check their websites, but be careful about client testimony. The Florida Bar, like every other Bar Association in this country, has specific rules about the way an attorney can use client testimony in advertising. If advertisement is abused, you may be left with unjustified expectations about what that lawyer can actually do for your case. Most importantly, meet with at least 3 attorneys before making a decision about who will represent you. Most firms offer a free consultation. Take advantage of that time to see if you feel comfortable with the attorney there. Remember, choosing the first attorney on a list of 50 may land you with someone who cannot help you in the way you need. This will cost you wasted time, money, and quite possibly your entire case.
If you’re not sure where to start with this, here are some guiding questions to ask or think about when you meet with the attorney for the first time:
-Who, specifically, will be working on my case?
-If that person is unavailable, is there someone else I can speak to?
-What are your credentials? Where did you go to school? Do you have any specializations? (Ex. AEP Designation – Accredited Estate Planner)
-What type of experiences have you had with similar cases? How did those cases turn out?
-What do you see as the possible outcomes of my case?
-Can you guess a timeframe of about how long my case will take?
-What type of payment would be associated with this case?
-Can you give me a ballpark figure of the total amount?
-How much time will can and will you dedicate to my case?
-Does your firm have any specific procedure for phone calls, contacting clients, and gathering information regarding the case that I should know about?
-Do you have any questions for me?
Use these questions to gauge how comfortable you are with this attorney. For example, if they mainly communicate by e-mail, and you rarely check yours, then chances are, that is not the attorney for you. Out of all the questions, the last is probably most important. It is the best way to gauge how interested the attorney is. This is what makes a good lawyer. If they show interest in the case, then chances are they’ll be interested enough to fight for what the law allows you to get. Most importantly, trust your instincts. More often than not, that is your best guide, because if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, they are probably not the person you want to be working with.
If you or a loved one find yourself needing assistance in a legal issue, the experienced attorneys at the Coye Law Firm, will do everything they can to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation on your case.