Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring an Attorney

Choosing the right lawyer can be a difficult process and is one of the more important decisions that you will ever make. Many people find themselves searching for a personal injury attorney after some sort of catastrophic incident, whether that is because of medical malpractice or as the result of a vehicle accident. Many personal injury cases come with the opportunity to receive a settlement that can go along ways for righting a wrong or simply giving a victim the ability to afford the care that they now need. Unfortunately, this path to justice is never an easy one, and this is why an experienced attorney is required.
Despite the fact that you have suffered a great loss, and they acknowledge your injuries, insurance companies and employers often consider your compensation to be their money, and they are not going to part with it easily. They will stop at nothing to keep that money, even if it means confusing the facts, attacking your character or outright obstructionism. Because of this, hiring a personal injury lawyer is one of the toughest and most important decisions of your life.
Because the need for an attorney comes from an unexpected event, most people are not prepared to go about the selection process. Often, victims are recovering or suffering from severe injuries or have too much of an emotional interest in the situation and consequentially, make irrational hiring decisions. In an attempt to better inform potential clients, here are ten of the most common mistakes people make when hiring an attorney for the first time.
The All Business Website, a D&B Company, listed international public interest law 10 reasons, a few of which bear repeating.
1. Client does not discuss fees in advance.
Potential clients often fail to discuss fee structures ahead of time and this results in confusion and consternation regarding up front costs and compensation percentages. Always discuss fee structures ahead of time, before signing any contract with an attorney.
2. Client mistakes compassion for effectiveness.
With so many emotions involved in the hiring of a lawyer and the personal nature of personal injury cases, it’s no surprise that many attorneys are compassionate to the emotions and situations facing their clients. This can be dangerous for clients whenever they fail to discern between a lawyer that is compassionate or sympathetic to their case and an attorney who knows how to balance this compassion with competence. Always find a balance between emotion and logic. Compassion will NOT win a case.
3. Client does not discuss availability before making an agreement.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous attorneys will take a case knowing full well that they don’t have the time or resources to adequately try the case. Be sure to discuss which lawyer will actually be working on the case, because sometimes it gets passed along from the experienced attorneys in the firm to the recent graduate that may not fully understand the intricacies of the case at hand.
4. Client loses control of the case.
Some clients lose track of their case and don’t understand upfront what their participation will entail. If you would like to be highly involved with your case, you must make sure that this is something the lawyer will allow and be comfortable with.
5. Client becomes uncomfortable with the lawyer’s style.
Experienced attorneys form a specific style after years of trying cases. It is important for potential clients to be sure that the attorney’s style is compatible with their vision for their case. Trying to change an attorneys style mid case will almost never end well for either party.
6. Female clients are intimidated.
In Marilyn Barrett’s book “The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Women Can Avoid” (Page 123), she states that female clients tend to be intimidated by male attorneys and judges as well as the courtroom in general. She believes this is because women, on average, are more reluctant than men to incur legal costs. A client who is not determined will easily cave to attorney pressure-and may forget their lawsuit entirely.
We would like to add four of our own to the list:
7. Client fails to research the attorney’s experience and specialization.
An experienced attorney may or may not have experience in particular practice areas of law.Never take a chance. Choose a firm that has specific experience and a proven track record with your type of case.
8. Client relies solely on referrals.
It’s easy to fall back on the referrals of friends and fail to do any of your own research. This can be a mistake because the referrer may have had a completely different type of case, and their experiences may not apply to your own situation.
9. Client just hires the first attorney that comes along.
Do not assume that only one attorney will be willing to take your case. Inevitably, if one attorney is willing to try your case, then there are several other that would also represent you. Do your due diligence and get second and third opinions and then you will make a more educated decision.
10. Client never meets the attorney in person.
It is commonplace for many people to contact and hire a law firm directly through email, without ever contacting the attorney by phone or in person. Although email may be a good starting point for some, do not hire an attorney without at least speaking on the phone. It can only help both parties to make the correct decision.
Use this list when seeking an attorney, and you are sure to make a more educated choice. Choosing how to deal with defamation of character the wrong attorney can only cause an already stressful situation to become worse.

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