You might think you’ll never need a lawyer because you’re not a criminal, but there are countless instances where you could potentially find yourself in need of legal assistance.
From divorce and child custody cases through to personal injury or being a victim of theft or another crime, you never know when you might need to find legal representation to fight your corner for you.
As a result of it not being common practice to need a lawyer, most people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding one.
Even if you’re not in immediate need of legal assistance, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process of finding the right lawyer.
Ask friends and family
You likely know someone who has needed a lawyer at some stage in their life, so as a first port of call, it’s worth asking your friends, family and colleagues for their recommendations (if they have any).
Word of mouth is invaluable, and if someone you know has had a good experience with a specific law firm or lawyer, they could provide you with a realistic insight and guide you through the process. They may also be able to pass on contact details, narrowing your search and saving you time.
Find a specialist lawyer
There are so many different fields of law, each one as complex as the next. With this in mind, you should focus your search on finding a specialist in the field that relates to you.
You might be going through a divorce and a friend might have recommended a lawyer they used for an employment court case, and whilst the suggestion is welcome, it’s best for you to focus on lawyers who have plenty of experience in your field.
Some law firms have many different types of lawyers with different specialisms, but in other instances there are law firms who have specific specialisms as a company.
The best option is to find a lawyer with experience and an intricate understanding of cases and the area of law relating to your needs.
Find out about legal aid
Lawyers do not come cheap, so before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you check what – if any – legal aid you’re entitled to. The deciding factor for legal aid eligibility typically comes down to your finances and whether you are deemed to have enough disposable income and assets to afford to pay your own legal costs.
A good lawyer/solicitor should tell you immediately whether they think you’ll be eligible. There are specific companies who specialize in representing those who can’t afford legal assistance, including Affordable Justice, so it’s worth seeking these out before committing to one lawyer.
Ask for references
It takes a lot of training to become a lawyer, but like any other field of work, there are some lawyers who are better than others. When you consider the experience aspect, you need to make sure you’re asking for references.
Of course, everyone has to start somewhere and there is every possibility a new lawyer is just as capable as a more experienced one, but depending on the case and what’s at stake, is that a risk you really want to take?
Finding a lawyer can take a while and it’s important that you don’t rush the process, especially if your case is sensitive and the stakes are high.
With this in mind, we’d recommend taking our four tips on board and having lengthy consultations with any and all law firms and lawyers you come across. Your choice in lawyer could be the difference between winning and losing, so make sure you pay due diligence.