An attorney is a big investment. You’re trusting them to represent you legally, and no matter what type of case you have, you need to know that they’re going to do everything in their power to represent you well. The last thing you want is to decide on an attorney, only to find that they don’t know what they’re doing, or they’re just looking to take your money. So if you’re looking for legal representation, here are a few considerations to keep in mind while you’re separating the good from the bad:
The absolute best way to tell a good attorney from a bad one is to determine how quickly they respond to your calls and emails. Yes, most attorneys are busy and handle more than one case at a time, but if you have to work to get a call back, or call several times just to get them to look at your email, there’s an issue. A quality attorney will have your best interests at heart and will remain available to answer your questions as they come up. If you find yourself dealing with your attorney’s secretary more than you talk with your actual attorney, there’s likely an issue. Choose an attorney who talks to you directly and makes time for your case.
Quality attorneys don’t miss deadlines. One of the biggest red flags out there is an attorney who misses a deadline. Lawyers, for all specialties and practice areas, should be well organized and on top of paperwork. In fact, missing a court filing deadline can seriously impact the outcome of your case, which is why you should drop any attorney who misses a deadline, immediately.
A good attorney will give you an idea of what to expect from your case, in general terms. A bad attorney will promise you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you’ll win the case. Be very wary of anyone who promises you a certain outcome, as they’re likely just looking to make the sale. A quality attorney might tell you that you have a really good chance, but they’ll never promise you the win because they know they can’t always predict the actions of others.
When you’re scoping out attorneys, it’s a good idea to ask for references. A quality attorney won’t mind handing you a list of people they’re confident will represent their work well. If you get any flack for asking for references, it might be a good time to find someone else. Anyone who’s looking to hide their past work isn’t going to be a trustworthy attorney.
It’s good to remember that when it comes to experience, quantity still isn’t necessarily better than quality. Choose an attorney who specializes in whatever case you’re bringing up. There are so many fields of law that it’s impossible for an attorney to be perfect in every area of law, from crime to civil suits to maritime law. While there are a lot of generalists out there, it’s in your best interest to at least talk to some attorneys who’ve handled cases like yours in the past. And when you’re looking at their past experience, be sure to see how they did. While no one can have a perfect record, it’s good to at least see how they’ve done in the past.
Clear Billing Practices
We all know that attorneys are typically expensive. They work in a specialized field, and because of that, they often charge quite a lot for their work. Be wary of attorneys who offer rock-bottom prices, as they may be hiding fees, or they might just not be that good. Shop around and get an idea of a few different attorney’s fees, so you can judge who’s charging too much and who’s charging too little. It’s best to get a printed or written and signed copy of your attorney’s billing practices, so you know exactly what you’ll be charged for, and at what price points. It’s good to note that there are fees that come up in the process of a trial, but if your attorney has outlined how they handle those sorts of fees upfront, then there won’t be any questions when you get the bill at the end of your case.
Finally, before you hire an attorney, make sure you ask them at least a few questions. Most attorneys offer a free initial case evaluation, and it’s in your best interest to use it. Ask them what they think of your case, how much time you can expect them to devote to your case, who will be working directly on your case, and any other question you can think of. If you don’t like their answers, or if you don’t really seem to get along well, know that there are no strings with an initial case evaluation, and you’re still free to seek someone else. It’s really important to remember that if you don’t get along with an attorney, it’s a perfectly valid reason to keep looking. Even if they’re super qualified, it will be hard to spend that much time with them if you simply don’t see eye to eye.
If you’re looking for a trusted attorney in Illinois, check out the Epstein Law Firm. Our expert attorneys specialize in workers compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI law, and we’d be happy to sit down and answer any questions you may have. Schedule your free initial case evaluation online, or give our office a call at 773-522-7000 today!