Whether you’re drafting a will, separating from your partner, have issues in the workplace, or require commercial legal services for your business, it is important to find the right lawyer to suit you and your situation. Here are 5 tips to make sure that the lawyer you retain is the right lawyer for you:
- Make sure you feel comfortable with your lawyer: Book an initial consultation and use the meeting to get to know your lawyer. You will be working closely with your lawyer and you will need to trust them. Trust your instinct, find someone you feel is being honest and forthcoming and who is personable and understands your situation.
- Ensure your lawyer is transparent about their fee: Lawyers are legally required to give you a fee estimate for your matter and must be transparent at all times should changes in your circumstances affect that estimate. Make sure that soon after your initial consultation your lawyer gives you an estimate in writing (in the form of a costs agreement). In order to give you an accurate and realistic estimate, a lawyer will not usually give you an estimate at your first meeting, but will try and get as much information about your matter as possible to then consider your matter further and work out a realistic estimate.
- Don’t go for the cheapest lawyer: Finding a lawyer that you can afford does not mean going with the lowest hourly charge rate. It might seem more appealing to engage a lawyer who charges $200 an hour rather than $450, but the latter will often have the experience that is needed to help you achieve a better outcome, and can often do so in half the time (or less) of an inexperienced lawyer.
- Find a specialist: Don’t go for a ‘general practitioner’ who dibs and dabs into various areas of law. Do your research and find a lawyer who is a specialist in the area of law that you need. A good option is to find a law firm that offers services in multiple areas of law, and has individual specialists for each of the services they provide. This means you get a specialist lawyer who also has the support of other specialists should the nature of your matter change (e.g. your family law matter could require a commercial lawyer’s advice if a family business is involved). You may also need a lawyer for something else in the future and it will be good to have found a law firm you feel comfortable with who can understand your situation more comprehensively.
- Size matters: Larger firms have their advantages such as greater resources in terms of money and employees to work on your matter. However, hiring a lawyer from a smaller firm means that your matter will receive more personal and prompt attention and your lawyer is likely to have more time to dedicate to your case.
If you or someone you know thinks he or she may need the services of a lawyer please don’t hesitate to make or recommend an appointment with Lynn & Brown Lawyers.
About the authors:
This article has been co-authored by Claudia Giovannini and Jacqueline Brown at Lynn & Brown Lawyers. Claudia is currently studying law at UWA and hopes to be admitted as a Perth lawyer in or about 2018. Jacqui is a Perth lawyer and director, and has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning. Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.