The last thing you want, in your hour of legal need, is to hire a bad lawyer who doesn't advocate for you in the right way. Even worse, what if you hire a negligent lawyer who loses your case because he commits legal malpractice?
If you want to a avoid a circumstance like this, there are a few important steps to take.
How to pick a lawyer the right way
Since you'll be completely dependent upon your lawyer, you'll want to pick the right man or woman for the job. Here's how:
1. Consult legal directories: Be sure to look up prospective lawyers on the Martindale-Hubbel directory to find information about his or her practice.
2. Ask fellow lawyers: Don't be shy to ask any lawyers you know about the other lawyer's reputation. You may even want to ask the prospective lawyers you interview about the other lawyers they know.
3. Do a background check: Most employers conduct background checks on their new hires. You should consider doing the same with your lawyer. Also, check the Illinois lawyer disciplinary agency to determine if there are any black marks on your lawyer's record.
4. Visit the lawyer's office: Is the lawyer's office neat, clean and does it appear to be well-run? Are the lawyer's staff nice and do they treat you well? Be sure that the offices feel comfortable to you before you hire a lawyer.
5. Interview prospective lawyers: Call up your prospective lawyer and interview him. Your lawyer will be your employee and you have the right to choose whoever you want. Here are the questions you should ask your lawyer:
What's your experience and how long have you been working?
What's your record of success, and have you ever handled a case like mine before? What percentage of the lawyer's caseload includes cases like yours?
Do you have any special certifications or specialties?
How are you legal fees structured and what are your rates?
Do you have malpractice insurance and how much do you carry?
Can you provide references?
How will we be in touch?
Finally, be sure to ask yourself whether you want to work with the lawyer and whether you feel comfortable with him or her.
After you've carried out the above five steps
After you've carried out the above five steps, you should have a good idea of who you want to hire as your lawyer. Also, you'll have a better chance of getting a good lawyer who doesn't commit attorney malpractice, who treats your case with the respect and care you deserve.