One of the most challenging task that a party to a litigation case has is to find the most suitable lawyer to represent them in a lawsuit. If you don’t already have a business or family lawyer and this is your first time hiring a lawyer, it is often a daunting task as many will not know where to start.
You could start by asking family, friends or acquaintances for referrals but a lawyer who is good for them may or may not be appropriate for your case. The lawyers may be an expert in your family, friends or acquaintances’ businesses but may know nothing about your business industry.
You could also check with the business associations which you are attached to, to get some referrals. However, you have beware that such referrals may be tainted by the amount of sponsorship that a law firm gives to the business associations.
If you really want to ensure that you get a good lawyer, there is no better way than to roll up your sleeves and actually go out and identify good lawyers in your industry. You can try the following methods to enhance your chances of getting the most suitable lawyer for your case.
Visit the local Bar Council or Association
A lawyer who is licensed to practise in your jurisdiction are required to be attached to the Bar Council or Association in that jurisdiction. They will normally publish a register or lawyers’ directory which will list all the lawyers practising in that jurisdiction.
The list will normally goes to thousands of lawyers (depending on how large is the jurisdiction). It will be a daunting tasks to try and interview all of them.
You could consult the Bar Council or Association to assist in identifying lawyers who specialises in the area of law relevant to you lawsuit. However, the list may still be very long as such Bar Council or Association will be hesitant to recommend the “best suited” lawyer to you because it will attract liability to the Bar Council or Association.
Visit the Law Firm’s Website
From the Bar Council or Association’s legal directory or recommendation, visit the law firms’ websites to find out more about the law firms. From there, try and shortlist five to ten law firms to go to.
Visit the Lawyers PERSONALLY
Contact the shortlisted law firms and give them very brief non-confidential details of your lawsuit for them to conduct a conflict check and to confirm that they can act on your behalf should they be appointed by you. This will save you a lot of leg work. It is important that at this stage, you should not give out any details which are confidential. Usually the names of the parties will be sufficient and a brief detail of your case for e.g claim on professional negligence or contract or divorce or custody etc.
Interview the Lawyers
Once you get to meet the lawyer, ask questions relating to their expertise and experience and briefly how could they help you with your case. Ask them about their charges as well. Most law firms will be able to offer you a cap fees to help you budget your legal costs.
From the interview, rate how comfortable you are with each of them and then decide on the one that you feel most comfortable and confident with.
You should also get assurance from the lawyer that he or she will be managing your case personally and not hand it to a different once you have confirmed the appointment. This is very important because some law firms are structured in such a way that the person who gets the appointment (marketer) may not be the one who handles your case. If your case will be passed on to a different lawyer, insist on meeting and interviewing the lawyer who will be handling your case.
This looks like a lot of work and effort but is also the most crucial step in your case because hiring the wrong lawyer may cause you to lose your case, notwithstanding that you may have a very good case from the start. If you have a good lawyer on board, your battle is already half won. So it is well worth the effort and time.