What You Should Look for and Look Out When Hiring An Attorney?
Interviewer: When someone’s out looking for a lawyer and they’re comparing lawyers on Google or something like that, what are some of the credentials that they should be looking for when interviewing attorneys to possibly represent them? At the same time, what are some warning signs or red flags that they should be aware of as well?
Zach Peagler: Well, I think, as far as credentials on Google and that type of thing, anybody can put a lot of different things on their website to make them sound like a highly qualified attorney. I think with each person, it’s important that you meet with that attorney in person and really just gauge your gut feeling about how knowledgeable that attorney is, how many cases he’s handling, how long he’s been doing it, and what areas of practice he really devotes most of his time to. You may get in a situation where you’re trying to hire an attorney to do a criminal matter, and a friend of yours has told you to call somebody and you get in there and realize that they don’t really do very much criminal work.
Those are the kinds of things that you want to look for, and then just gauge their personality. Gauge if you get along with them and if you think that they’re going to be responsive to your needs. I think that’s a really important thing because what attorneys often overlook is talking to their clients about what their specific goals are. Is this person never going to enter a plea agreement? If that’s the case, then it’s going to be a lot of hours, a lot of work, and require a lot of experience to try to get through a trial in a case.
We see clients from time to time who have already hired an attorney, and now they’re disappointed with what that attorney is trying to do for them. A lot of that can be weeded out in the first meeting if you go and sit down and you tell the person exactly what your expectations are, and then hopefully they’re honest with you about how realistic those expectations are.
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