It’s said there are two things that every business needs to stay away from problems, an accountant and a lawyer. You must’ve heard or read somewhere that an accountant is necessary to take care of your finances. But what about a lawyer? What do they do?
There are plenty of reasons why you need a lawyer either for business or personal reasons. The most common mistake that people made is hiring a lawyer after they get sued or presented with other problems. It’s a mistake because that would’ve been too late to hire a lawyer. The time to find a lawyer could be used on something else and again, it’d be too late.
So, now you think you need a lawyer. Where do you start? In this article, I have 7 great tips for hiring a lawyer. It’s time to act now before problems arise.
1. Know their specialty
There are many kinds of lawyers: personal injury, estate planning, bankruptcy. Immigration, tax, family, and many more. The list is really long and can get confusing for people who don’t know these specialties.
This is why you have to make sure that your lawyer has the relevant experience to what you need or your current case. You can check with your state or local bar associations, they might be able to recommend you some lawyers.
2. Know the agreement
You must know and understand everything before agreeing to work with the lawyer. How often will you get an update from the lawyer? How much is the cost? What are your options? And many more questions you can ask. Always discuss everything necessary with the lawyer.
3. Do your own research
This might be a challenge, but it’s a necessary step to take. The best way is to talk to more than one lawyer to understand their characters and the scope of their services. Ask several lawyers about their experience, fees, chances of success, and how do they work. To make it easier, make a summary of your problems and explain them to the lawyer as quickly as possible.
4. Fees and costs
Hiring a lawyer should solve your problems and not create them. Ask the lawyer about the cost of their services and whether you will be paying for other fees and costs or not. There’s a law that says lawyers are required to charge a reasonable fee and explain their fees in writing.
Some extra costs that you might have to pay are courier services, court filing fees, research services, or copying documents. Depending on your case, these extra costs could add up to a lot. The best advice to remember is that the most expensive lawyer isn’t always the best and the cheapest lawyer isn’t always a great deal. So, try to find the best balance between experience and fee.
5. Payment arrangements
Still related to fees and costs, you must know the payment arrangement before hiring a lawyer. Ask your lawyer if you can lower the costs by performing some tasks yourself, such as copying or delivering certain documents.
There are several ways to pay for your lawyer’s services, such as contingency fees, flat fees, hourly rates, retainer fees, and prepaid legal plans. A contingency fee is the most common way to pay a lawyer. It means that your lawyer gets a percentage of the amount of money you get from winning your case.
Hourly rates are also common. The total cost will be based on how long it will take to complete your work. The rates depend on the lawyer’s expertise and experience. Finding balance is very important, you can hire a great lawyer with a high hourly rate, but they can finish the work more quickly than other lawyers.
6. Always keep good records
Your lawyer will need a lot of documents to help them win the case. That’s why you should keep records of every important document you have. Then, you can give your lawyer copies of those documents. Same with documents you’ll receive from your lawyer, review them carefully, and keep them safe.
7. You can fire your lawyer
Lawyers can mess up too, and perhaps you might feel unsatisfied with your lawyer. You may fire your lawyer, in this case, any time you want. Sometimes you may need the permission of a judge before you can fire your lawyer.
Calculate the fees and costs again before you fire your lawyer. If you think your lawyer treats you unfairly or charges you too much, always discuss this with them before you fire them. Perhaps, you can reach an agreement that could help you win your case, without looking for a new lawyer.
Protect your business and yourself
Hiring a lawyer is important to protect your business and yourself from many problems. If you think you have the money to hire one, then you should start looking immediately. Don’t act after you got a problem, because then it might be too late.