How to choose an attorney

There are three people in your life that you should never lie to: your doctor, your dentist, and your attorney.  This morning, I heard someone say that these are the people that get lied to the most.  From my experience, this is probably true and it is not a constructive use of a lie.  These people are the three people that immediately know that you are lying and if we don’t know it immediately, we find out eventually.  The most important aspect to a healthy attorney-client relationship is trust.  Not only that the attorney trusts the client, but more importantly, that the client trusts the attorney.

An attorney can sense when a client does not trust him.  Not only by the things the client does, but also by the things the client says.  Don’t get me wrong, I have heard many horror stories about attorneys taking advantage of too-trusting clients, and I have respect for a healthy skepticism; however there is a difference between a healthy skepticism and distrust of the attorney.  There are several ways that you can find an attorney that you trust.  First of all, you should meet with more than one attorney.  The purpose of meeting with several attorneys is to make sure that the one you do pick, is knowledgable in the area of your matter.  Once you get a feeling for the type of discussion you should be having with your attorney, you will be more comfortable asking questions and will get more information based on your questions.  You should be able to find two or three attorneys that offer free consultations to accomplish this.

Meeting with several attorneys is also good advice because you can get a feel for the different personalities of the attorneys and you can pick one that suits your style best.  Another tactic that will help ensure that you find a trust-worthy attorney is to ask your friends and family members who they use for various personal legal problems.  Your friends and family members can likely tell you the strengths and weaknesses of the person they use and you can more easily evaluate whether that attorney is right for you.  A word of caution regarding this tactic however: you should follow your gut feeling.  Just because a friend or family member had good luck with a particular attorney does not mean that the attorney is particularly knowledgeable in the area of law that your matter is in.  You must meet with the attorney to find out what they know and more importantly, what they don’t know.

Do not hire an attorney that you do not trust.  You do not owe anyone an explanation regarding why you chose a particular attorney.  If you hire an attorney that you do not trust, you spend more time following up on matters, calling the attorney to ask questions so that you feel reassured, and generally worrying about whether the attorney is doing his job.  In the long run, this will cost you more time, money, & sleepless nights for the same or similar result.