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A bad decision to make is picking the first lawyer who comes your way. Instead, research several attorneys to find the one best suited for your case. You should ask people you know if they can recommend a good lawyer.
You have a right to expect clear, consistent communication with your lawyer. He or she should be able to give you a general summery of what you can expect in terms of your case, as well as what potential issues might arise and what could be done to remedy these issues.
You will be able to save some money and time if you're ready with information, as well as paperwork, prior to having a consultation. A good lawyer needs all the facts before he can give you a reliable estimate of charges. Being efficient will help you save money.
A lawyer who specializes in a specific issue will be an advantage for you. Specialized lawyers can be more expensive but these lawyers have extensive experience with cases like yours. You should avoid lawyers who spend most of their revenue on promoting their services and rely on their good reputation and results instead.
Don't accept the very first lawyer in the phone book. Do some background research and ask people you know for recommendations. You may even find that you've hired a lawyer without a valid license or one who has been sued for malpractice. Avoid this.
Before you hire a lawyer, see if you can resolve any dispute without one. Often people are able to resolve their problems without having to find a lawyer. If you are not able to solve your problem without a lawyer, then it is in your best interest to have a lawyer on your side.
Don't hire the first lawyer that you meet. You should meet with a number of lawyers to get an idea of how they operate. This is the only way that you will find one you are comfortable with. Don't ever settle for a lawyer that doesn't make you feel comfortable or you'll regret it.
You need to make sure you're asking enough questions. During your consultation, your lawyer should answer every question you have. They need to make you feel comfortable. If you do not, you must move on and interview another lawyer.
Keep a paper trail. Document all conversations and meetings with your lawyer. Take note of all questions asked, as well as their answers and record all arrangements and discussions of fees and charges. Lawyers are only human and make mistakes. Give yourself a layer of protection with excessive record keeping.
It is often the case that lawyers are seen as a necessary evil, only to be consulted when things really go badly. The truth, though, is that if you educate yourself about what lawyers do and how they can help make your life easier, you are likely to see things differently. Hopefully the information above has been a useful resource to help you do just that.