Selecting an Attorney

How To Select An Attorney

The selection of an attorney is an important decision. The fees and attorney charges may be substantial and ongoing. Therefore, selecting your attorney is an important decision.

The best way to select an attorney is through a recommendation of friend or associate who has had dealings with an attorney. A friend’s past experience with an attorney will indicate if your experience with an attorney will be a good one. An alternate and excellent way to select an attorney is through your local bar association. You can call them and tell them your legal problem and they will refer you to one or several attorneys who you can call. Most attorneys will spend 10-20 minutes on the phone with you to determine your legal problem and advise of the course of action. You can call several attorneys who specialize on your problem and select one based on your conversation and comfort level. The attorney should state his hourly fee and most require that a retainer letter be signed and a retainer (deposit) be paid. Legal fees to you, the client, are a result of the number of hours required by the lawyer multiplied by his or her hourly rate. You should ask for the approximate time it will take to resolve your case, however the attorney may not be able to tell you this.

The Yellow Pages and Internet is the final way to select an attorney. This method is also good in that you can select an attorney based on upon their specialization and your particular problem. Attorneys pay substantial sums of advertising money to be on the Yellow Pages and many have full or half page ads. Attorneys need you as much as you need them since they are profit-motivated individuals and organizations. A good way to contact an attorney is through e-mail. This gives the attorney a chance to think about your problem so that when you have a phone conversation he is prepared to speak to you.

Depending on your legal problem, you may want to hire an individual attorney and not a large law firm where there will be different legal fees for different attorneys. Be careful if a law firm states different hourly rates for different legal professionals, paralegals, associates, partner’s and senior partners. There is no way you can keep track of who puts in how much time and if all professionals work on your case at the same time, the hourly rate will be enormous.

To summarize you should be aware of the following when selecting an attorney:

  1. Select through personal recommendation.
  2. Select from Bar Association referral.
  3. Select based upon your conversation with an attorney and his specialization in your legal problem. Only hire attorneys who specialize in your problems.
  4. Select based upon hourly rate. Sometimes the higher the hourly rate the less the total fee because of an attorney’s competence in dealing with the issues. Stay away from an attorney who will not give you an hourly rate in advance or firms that give different hourly rates for different professionals in the office.


In today’s litigious society, lawyers are needed more than in previous years. Selecting the right attorney is very important.