Sarah’s top tips for choosing the right lawyer

Sarah Gee

Navigating the complexities of the legal system can feel daunting, but one crucial step that can lead you to a good outcome is finding the right lawyer to partner with you.

Whether you’re being proactive and getting your ducks in a row, or handling a curveball that life has thrown your way, how do you ensure you choose someone who aligns with your needs?

I often get asked for recommendations or to point people in the right direction so I have assembled all of my best tips and in this blog we explore how to choose the right lawyer for you.

1. What kind of lawyer do you need?

Sounds like an easy question, right? With doctors, you can start with a GP and go from there. But lawyers are a little different. There are so many different types of lawyers and you want one that specialises in the area you need. If your legal issue doesn’t neatly fall into a category you understand, you might just need to start making some calls to some local law firms until someone points you in the right direction. We all have referral lists with phone numbers to pass you onto the right person if we can’t help.

2. Leverage your network

Personal recommendations are invaluable. Ask friends, family, or colleagues who have had positive legal experiences (or negative!). Personal recommendations can often come with insights into a lawyer’s communication style, professionalism, and effectiveness. This can save you valuable time and provide peace of mind.

3. Explore online resources

Once you have narrowed down your search, it’s time to start having a look at some online profiles. Yep, let’s do a little matchmaking. Law firm websites and social media profiles can offer you a wealth of information to get a sense of their experience, track record, and personality. You can look for lawyers specialising in your specific legal issue, review their experience and qualifications, and check for client testimonials, particularly on Google and Facebook reviews.

4. The power of the consultation

It’s time to have a chat. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations. These consultations are your chance to assess not just their expertise, but also their communication style, and overall approach in how they handle matters. Your lawyer will be your confidante and advocate for you. Trust is vital.

Consider something as simple as whether they talk more than they listen. How effective will this be when you want them to negotiate for you?

Ask questions, express your concerns, and gauge their responsiveness. Do they listen actively, meet you where you’re at, explain complex matters clearly, and inspire confidence?  Are they speaking in a way you understand or trying to confuse you by using too many legal words? If you have a preferred communication style, experience neurodiversity or you just don’t fit into a typical box, consider whether this is someone who is going to understand and support that.

5. Beyond credentials

Legal matters can be really challenging. It might be an emotional time, or you may need to make big decisions that can impact your life. You need someone who is going to help you think clearly. While experience and expertise are crucial, also consider the lawyer’s personality and communication style. You need someone you feel comfortable confiding in, who explains things clearly, and who respects your questions and concerns without rushing you. There are many lawyers who have a one size fits all approach. Is that going to suit you or do you need options to consider?

6. Transparency and fees

Make sure you understand how you’re going to be charged and that your quote is in writing. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or other options if needed. There are many models including fixed fees, capped fees and hourly rates. Hint: hourly rates don’t suit many people! If the work requires hourly rates, request a cap on those fees so you don’t end up with surprise bills.

7. Shared goals and shared values

Having a shared goal is going to keep your vision aligned. Is it a simplified contract that doesn’t scare clients off? Is it to get you as much money as possible when you sell your business so you can enjoy a hard earned retirement? You want someone who is going to care about you and your goals and adopt it as their own to help you get there.

Look for someone who demonstrates a genuine commitment to your cause and whose values resonate with yours. Whether it’s a dedication to justice, integrity, or a client-centric approach, finding a lawyer whose ethos aligns with yours can strengthen your relationship and pave the way for a successful partnership.

8. Trust your instincts

Sometimes you just know. Choose a lawyer who gets you and makes you feel confident. This is a relationship that is built on open communication and mutual respect.

Remember, finding the right lawyer is an investment in your legal journey. By following these tips and trusting your instincts, you’ll be well on your way to securing the right partner for your needs.

Curium Legal are lawyers for business. We partner with you to understand your whole business, your goals and challenges. Supporting you to manage risk and plan for the future. We plan to work with you over many years as your business grows and changes.

Whether you are a start up entrepreneur with big ideas or a well established business, we have the expertise to manage your risk and legals with skill and a minimum of fuss. Freeing you up so that you can focus on doing what you do best.

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