When you are searching for a lawyer or looking for legal advice make sure that you use your best efforts to seek out and obtain the person you are most comfortable with and that you believe will best suit your needs. Here is a list of helpful tips to use in selecting a lawyer (these are, of course, the opinions of our office and you should use whatever method you deem best to serve your needs):
- Meet with the lawyer you are considering and decide if they are the right fit for you. This can go a long, long way to creating a positive comfort level for you in making a decision about who you would choose to use to represent your interests. You might decide right there on the spot that this is the person for you but you might also decide that you would like to explore other alternatives as well. It’s just the best course of action to take.
- Avoid lawyers who make promises of grandeur or outcome. All lawyers like to tell war stories or give specific references that demonstrate their competency as a lawyer. Hearing that shouldn’t run you off. However, when a lawyer starts talking about what outcome your case WILL receive, they are speaking of things that are not within their power to promise and your radar should be saying very negative things to you at that point. Their best efforts to assist you based upon their education, training and experience are the most appropriate representations to make in my opinion.
- Don’t always choose the cheapest lawyer. There are reasons why some might be really cheap. It’s not necessarily a mistake to search out price points but when you’re placing your faith in someone to help you with something that might have impact your continued freedom or your finances, it seems more necessary than not to avoid the bargain folks. Alternatively, a high price doesn’t necessarily mean much either. So, in terms of what we would recommend, you go back up to number one above and make good use of it.
- Use your friends and loved one for references. These are the people that care about you and would always want to point in you in the right direction. You can bet that many of your friends or relatives have soaked up a traffic ticket, maybe another form of trouble or had to deal with a car accident and they might know someone in your community that would do good work for you. This is always a good initial approach to finding the right lawyer.
- Direct mail solicitations are advertisements for legal services that are currently allowed pursuant to the rules of professional conduct in our state. Our opinion is that sending out letters soliciting you to hire a particular lawyer really isn’t that professional at all. We agree that a web site, even one like this, is also an advertisement for the provision of legal services. The big difference is that if you’re reading this, you sought out information on your own and are reviewing it by your own initiative. Those trying to chase you down for your business are probably those that you wouldn’t want to represent you.
- Be wary of a referral to you by your bondsman. Unless you already have a prior working relationship with that lawyer and know his credentials, it’s probably best for you to use other references as sources for pointing you towards a lawyer. Additionally, there are various provisions under North Carolina law that prohibit such a referral. Knowing that alone should deter you from using such a reference which is, all too often, more common than you might think.
- Do not take jail house advice. If you’ve been arrested, some of those who are there with you will want to provide you with their own legal advice. They are probably not licensed to practice law so listen to their advice sparingly. On the other hand, some of them have enough experience with the system to know who the best lawyers are, and who the best lawyers are not, for representation on a given legal matter.