If you’ve decided you need to hire a lawyer, here are some things to consider:
A Consulting Relationship Could Cost You More
If you want to only consult with a lawyer, go for it! Just seek out a lawyer that will do consulting work for you rather than requiring a full relationship. Their hourly wage will be higher, but you’ll be able to use them when you need them, rather than keeping them on retainer.
Price out the Relationship
Most lawyers are in the $150-1000/hour range, and this varies from firm to firm. It’s good to get multiple quotes and compare the quotes to years of experience, track record, and resources. For example, will they be working by themselves or will they have assistance? What percentage of the work will they do and will their legal assistants do? How attentive will they be?
Be Aware You’ll be Charged for Every Minute
Lawyers are highly educated and value their time, so you should too. Too often clients of lawyers have been surprised to hear that firms bill in increments of 15 minutes. Call them up for a quick question and think it’s easy and you won’t be charged? Think again.
Understand the Lawyers Style
Just like anyone in their own profession, it’s important that you get a good feel for the lawyer’s style. Do they take a long time to explain things, take a long time to get back to you, use jargon, or like to control the relationship? None of these are bad things, per se, but it’s important you get a good feel for the lawyer’s style so you can make sure to work together effectively. This is one thing that can quickly sour a relationship, and it’s good to be intentional when initially feeling out your legal counsel.
Much like hiring a contractor or a babysitter, the best thing you can do is take the advice of a trusted friend. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter from a TV ad, and you shouldn’t hire your attorney through one either. If none of your friends or relatives have recommendations, there are lots of places online that can help you narrow your search.