Auditioning Your Attorney
While I get along with most folks, I am not the best attorney for every client. Just as I choose my clients, they choose me. While this may seem rather commonsense, I am amazed at how many clients choose an attorney haphazardly. A client’s comfort level with their attorney greatly enhances the potential for a successful partnership. I recommend auditioning your attorney before moving forward with that important relationship. Here are some tips to consider:
- Compare and Contrast: As my dad always said, options are good. Take the time to interview at least two lawyers before making your choice of legal counsel. Bring a standard set of questions for each attorney so that you can evaluate your candidate attorney’s responses and make a thoughtful decision.
- Experience Check: It is completely appropriate that you ask an attorney whether they practice routinely in the relevant practice area. Most small Vermont law firms, like mine, cannot possibly do everything well. Ask your candidate counsel a direct question regarding the practice area and seek a specific response as to how long that attorney has practiced in that area of law. If the attorney evades the question or answers your inquiry generally, this attorney may not have the requisite experience to assist you.
- Style is Everything: Most of us know our own style of communication. Do you demand regular communication regarding each step of your legal matter? Or are you a delegator and just want to hear from your attorney when action is required? Ask the attorney to describe his communication style. How does he routinely communicate? What is the best method for effective attorney/client communication? How quickly does the attorney routinely return phone calls or emails? Evaluate whether your candidate attorney’s response matches your communication style and needs.
- Google: A personal referral is still a great way to find an attorney. Once you have a personal referral, however, google your candidate attorney to see what comes up. Check out the attorney’s website, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media pages. Finally, check out the Vermont Judiciary’s list of Attorneys in Good Standing to ensure that your candidate attorney is licensed and in good standing. This quick research might confirm for you (or not) that this candidate attorney would be a good fit for your needs.