If you or a loved one are dealing with a legal issue—whether it’s a criminal charge, a messy divorce, or a complex civil suit—two of the most important questions you may have are as follows:
- Do I need a lawyer?
- If I need one, how do I pick the right one for me?
While the answer to the first question can usually be found by doing some research and speaking to an attorney about your case, that second question can prove far more difficult. After all, picking the right attorney is vital to reaching the best possible outcome in your case, but you may find yourself speaking to multiple attorneys at multiple law firms, each with their own perspective on your situation and their own “best course of action” for you to take.
Combine that with all of the stress you’re likely feeling about your case to begin with, and it’s a recipe ripe for rash, impulsive decisions and mistakes that end up costing you dearly in the long run.
In today’s blog, we’re going to help alleviate some of that pressure by sharing 5 things to avoid when searching for an attorney, as chosen by our founding partner and CEO himself, Mr. James E. Crawford, Jr.
1. Don’t go with the first lawyer you speak to.
Noted behavioral coach Robert Ditts once said that “flexibility comes from having multiple choices; wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives,” and those are words to live by when choosing a lawyer.
In any situation as stressful as a legal issue, it’s natural to feel drawn to the first attorney that you have a consultation with. You may feel relief that “finally” someone understands your case and your situation, or maybe you’re working on a tight timetable and feel as though retaining the first attorney you speak with will somehow save you time and lead to the quickest resolution for your case.
However, if you only speak to one attorney, then you’re limited to that one attorney’s point of view on your case. Speaking to two, three, or even four attorneys can provide you with a wealth of different case strategies or personalities to choose from that you feel best fits your specific situation.
2. Don’t choose an attorney just because you’re scared.
When a potential client is dealing with a high-stakes legal issue, whether a criminal charge or a family law case, many attorneys will start off a consultation by laying out the “worst-case scenario” for their case. This can be a lengthy jail sentence, a large financial hit, or an opposing party winning full custody of a client’s children.
While this approach may be well-intentioned (as it is important for someone to know what the potential outcomes could be for their case), this is all too often a scare tactic being employed by the attorney to pressure the client in to retaining.
Do not fall for this. As already stated, it’s natural to be stressed about your legal issue, but don’t just choose an attorney because you’re scared of what may happen in the moment. Besides, a quality attorney will give you a holistic view of your entire case, and that includes not only the “worst” possible outcomes, but the best-case scenario as well.
3. Do not be intimidated by a lawyer’s surroundings.
Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, it applies when searching for an attorney.
While it may sound silly, when you first walk into a law office be careful not to let yourself be swayed by things like fancy décor or an attorney’s suit. While these things aren’t “bad” and may very well indicate a successful law firm, the name of the game is style over substance. It matters far more what your attorney has to say rather than what they look like while saying it, and the opposite can be true as well. Some of the best attorneys work at smaller, boutique firms, and it’s best to remember that a huge office or a designer suit don’t necessarily equate to high-quality representation down the road.
4. Don’t pick a lawyer just to “get it over with.”
Legal issues of any kind can be frustrating. They’re often expensive, can carry heavy consequences, and force you to be immersed in a complex legal system that very few people outside of the legal profession are properly familiar with. For these reasons, it’s incredibly easy to want to retain a lawyer just to “get the ball rolling” on your case.
Like with our first point about picking this first attorney that you speak with, this line of thinking is setting you up for failure. We at JC Law understand how stressful cases can be, but you need to do the proper research by speaking to multiple attorneys, and really put some thought into choosing the best attorney for your case, not just “an attorney.”
The reality is that the time or money you may think you’ll be saving by rushing to pick an attorney is often cancelled out by the eventual costs of low-quality representation, and if you’re dealing with something like jail time or custody of your kids, the benefits of up-front research or financial investment to retain a great lawyer far outweigh the consequences of a bad one.
5. Ask yourself: Is your lawyer a “dragon” or a “paper-pusher?”
Finally, like many things in life, high-quality legal representation is often defined by balance. As such, having an attorney who can approach your case with a balanced perspective can do wonders in helping you to achieve your best possible legal outcome.
While we’re all familiar with the stereotype of the no-nonsense, tough as nails litigator who walks into the court room ready for a fight, choosing an attorney who’s all about aggression with no focus on proper procedure (a “dragon”) can lead to sloppy mistakes that delay your case or, even worse, hurt your chances in court.
On the other hand, having an attorney who only worries about properly filing their pleadings with no focus on truly fighting for your best interests (a “paper-pusher”) can lead to nothing getting done.
It’s best to find an attorney who can balance both above; one who possesses the attention to detail to make sure every part of their case strategy is being executed correctly AND the savvy and backbone to fight for their client both in and out of the courtroom.
Are you in the search for an attorney? Then call JC Law TODAY.
Clearly, we at JC Law understand that the search for an attorney is a delicate affair that requires time and effort, and we’re here to help. Call us now at (888) JCLAW-10 or click here to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.
Remember, at JC Law, we aren’t just your lawyer. We’re your legal ally.