When you hire a lawyer, it’s a bit different than hiring other kinds of professionals. There are many different aspects of the practice of law that you will want to take into account before you sign a retainer agreement. Here are some key characteristics to consider when you hire a lawyer to represent you.
Legal knowledge and experience. Hire a lawyer with superior knowledge of both the law and legal procedure. Your lawyer should be able to give you a range of expected outcomes for your case, based on his experience in other cases. Asking a lawyer to briefly summarize his experience should not be met with disdain. Good lawyers are proud of their accomplishments and happy to share their breadth of experience with prospective clients.
Excellent interpersonal skills. If you don’t get along with your lawyer, your case will not go well. It’s OK to have a love-hate relationship, as long as there is some love to go with the hate. Importantly, how your lawyer conducts himself with you strongly indicates how that person will interact with others. If you don’t feel comfortable with your lawyer, it’s likely that others will not, either.
Negotiation skills. Select a lawyer with strong negotiation skills. You don’t want a lawyer who “gives away the store.” But neither do you want a lawyer who is so inflexible as to derail negotiations where a deal can be made. Negotiations are a two-way street. Settlement discussions are not unilateral and require seeing things from the other party’s point of view.
Analytical abilities. Your lawyer should be able to synthesize complex facts and documents to create a cogent legal argument. Methodical and logical scrutiny of your case is crucial to a successful outcome. Even the strongest case can be undermined by faulty or undeveloped reasoning.
Hire a lawyer who inspires confidence
If you meet with a lawyer and are not instilled with confidence, seek legal assistance elsewhere. Retaining a lawyer is a serious decision. Keep the above characteristics in mind when interviewing an attorney to handle your case.