When you need a lawyer, you may be in a hurry to find the right one. Don’t make the mistake of rushing into this decision. The attorney you hire can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

Here are some issues you need to think about and discuss with any lawyer you are thinking of hiring:

  • Cost: Nailing down an exact cost for your legal matter can be difficult, if not impossible. However, any lawyer you talk to should be able to give you an idea of what you can expect. Ask what the lawyer charges per hour and what additional costs you may incur (filing fees, copying costs, mailing services, etc.) during his or her representation. Some legal services may be charged at a flat rate, and some lawyers will help you find ways to control your costs. Just ask.
  • Focus: Is your legal issue in an area of law that this law firm practices? If the firm only handles personal injury claims, you may need to look elsewhere for a lawyer who will fight for your right to an increase in child support. Keep in mind, however, that different lawyers in the same law firm may focus on different areas of law.
  • Experience: How much experience does the lawyer have with the type of case you need help with? You don’t go to a knee surgeon for a head injury, and you shouldn’t hire a criminal defense lawyer for a divorce or child custody dispute. It’s okay to ask questions about an attorney’s qualifications during your initial consultation.
  • Personality: Is this lawyer a person you want to spend time with? Some family law cases take many months, even years, before they are resolved. You should be able to trust, respect and feel confident about your lawyer’s abilities. Many legal issues are very personal as well. Is this someone you want to share your fears and hopes with?

Just like any relationship, communication is important. You need to communicate your concerns and ask questions during your very first conversation with the lawyer you are thinking of hiring. If you feel as if he or she isn’t really listening to you, you may want to look elsewhere.