Legal movies, we have probably all seen them, whether it be Legally Blonde or My Cousin Vinny, there is nothing quite like a good courtroom movie. One thing any legal movie seems to share in common? None of them completely accurately depict the legal room or process.
So what is a person to do when the time comes to hire an attorney? Are you a fitness instructor that has been wrongfully charged with your husband’s murder? You may be looking for Elle Woods to vindicate you of all charges while simultaneously hiding your dirty liposuction secrets. But let’s look at the wisdom of this.
Picking an attorney based on appearances and clothing choices does appeal to many. The general impression is that if the attorney can afford nice clothes, they must be successful. This could very well be true, but are they successful in the area of law you need help in? Dig a little deeper. Here is a helpful list to go through when considering choosing your legal representation.
- Are you getting distracted by a fancy Harvard law degree proudly hanging from the attorney’s office? Just because they went to Harvard does not mean that they are necessarily the right fit. What are their accomplishments after law school? Keep in mind that the practice of law happens after an attorney passes the bar.
- What is the attorney you are meeting with promising you? Does it sound fantastic, maybe a little too good to be true? That is probably because it is. Best practice is to never guarantee an outcome, your attorney does not have a crystal ball. They can list strengths and weaknesses, the way the law should pan out, etc., but any experienced ethical attorney will always allow for the disclaimer of crazy things happen and to be prepared.
- What is your attorney getting out of representing you? What sort of fee agreement are they proposing? Is it a contingency fee? Is the fee agreement permissible? There are some fee agreements that attorneys are prohibited from proposing, but still our office sees them from clients seeking new representation. Just a friendly word of warning – contingency fee agreements on divorce and criminal cases are NOT permissible. If you see someone proposing this to you, run and run fast.
- Do you feel comfortable talking to your prospective attorney? Many cases ultimately deal with intimate aspects of your life. If you feel like you cannot open up to the person you are speaking with, take that into consideration. The attorney understands, some things just are not a good fit. Our office would prefer you retain someone you ARE comfortable with rather than find out you failed to disclose your plastic surgery alibi out of shame.
Of course, there are many other factors to consider when choosing representation, but always remember, look for trustworthiness over guarantees and glamour. And, of course, I would be remiss without ending this blog with a friendly invitation to set up a consultation with the attorneys at Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP if you are seeking representation. They deal with a wide variety of legal issues and are known for their passion, integrity, and effective advocacy of their clients. Contact our office today to set up a consultation and feel free to see how we check out against this check list!