You want a lawyer that’s a shark, a bullet—unstoppable. Or at least that’s what you’ve been led to believe. Choosing an attorney is a big deal, but oftentimes people just randomly choose a name or firm from the phonebook. You’re investing your money and rights into this expert, and you deserve more than that.
Just like choosing a doctor or university, you need to find the right match for you. This is especially true if you’re looking for a business or estate planning attorney who will be helping you out for many years. Personality matters nearly as much as experience and prior success. Consider choosing an attorney similar to dating.
When you’re first meeting with an attorney, this isn’t necessarily your “first meeting.” It’s a time for you to decide if this is the right person or firm to be in your corner. Most people get flustered and don’t remember everything they want to ask. Write down all of your questions and make sure the attorney gives you clear answers.
It’s often smart to meet with a few attorneys before choosing one. Let them know that you’re “shopping around,” and you should expect them to respect this. Their job is to work for you and help you succeed. This involves making you comfortable and ensuring that you’re happy as their client.
Check the Chemistry
If you’ll be working with an attorney for many years, it’s important that there’s some chemistry. This includes them being polite and friendly and maybe having the same values. You might want your attorney or law firm to be active in the community, or have a family-oriented perspective on things. It’s your money, and your decision.
Personality is critical, but so is fee structure. It’s no secret that attorneys can be expensive. You need an attorney who works with you and your budget. A firm with creative fee structures or that offers unbundled packages is a huge plus for many clients. Even if you’re rolling in the dough, it’s still important that you spend wisely.
It’s Not Marriage
You’ve done your research, met with a few attorneys, and made your decision. Maybe you’re choosing an attorney for complicated estate planning—that means you’ll need them for your entire life. Don’t let fear of commitment get to you. You don’t have to stick with an attorney forever.
Your attorney is an important part of your life, but not necessarily permanent. Make sure you take the time to pick the best one for you—at that time in your life. Doing so can ease your stress and ensure that truly everything you need is being addressed.