There may be times when working with an attorney is one of the wisest decisions you will ever make. This column addressed some of those situations last week.
Since most of us don’t work with an attorney every day, however, knowing how to find an attorney can be more of a hassle than knowing that you need one.
To find an attorney, ask trusted friends, family or business associates if they have worked with one. These referrals from someone you know and trust are a good way to start, says Larry Gaddis of Gaddis, Hurd, Crow & Adams, especially if your friend’s experience with the attorney is in the same area of expertise. is in
Gaddis notes that Martindale-Hubbell (www.martindale.com), a legal database, lists attorneys indicating areas of expertise and peer reviews. Also, your local bar association will have a list of some attorneys.
John Cyburone of Alpern Myers Stuart recommends that before you hire a lawyer, interview them in person, if possible, to get a sense of who they are and how you feel about them. . During this meeting you should ask what expertise they have and how much experience they have in the area you need help with.
“Until you feel 100% amazing with the first attorney you interview, interview at least one or two more,” said Ciborone.
In addition to getting information about experience, it’s also worth getting an idea of hourly fees, how billing is handled, and an estimate of what your case might cost—realizing that things will change depending on how the case progresses. But it could be more or less, says Terence Doherty of the Doherty Law Firm.
You also want to inquire about response times and how communications are handled.
Christopher Tremaroli of Tremaroli & Tremaroli says it’s important that you read any agreement with a firm carefully and ask any questions with a lawyer before signing.
“Before engaging a law firm,” he said, “understand which attorney will be handling the matter, with whom you will be able to communicate on a reasonably quick basis, and whether the firm can commit to a specific response.” It’s time.”
Once you’ve narrowed down an attorney you think you’d like to work with, look them up on the Colorado Supreme Court website to see if there have been any disciplinary actions.
In addition to wanting a good lawyer, you will also benefit from being a good client. This means that you should be as organized as possible in providing information to the attorney.
By being aware that many attorneys bill hourly and in minimum increments of 10 or 15 minutes, you can save yourself money by avoiding multiple calls or emails that each take only a few minutes to respond to. Huh.
If you need a lawyer but can’t afford one, contact Colorado Legal Services (coloradolegalservices.org) to see if you qualify for free or low-cost legal aid.
Linda Leitz is a business columnist and certified financial planner. She can be reached at [email protected]