Finding the right lawyer for your legal issues can make all the difference. It is important to find a lawyer that you trust to provide high-quality work without breaking the bank.
With thousands of lawyers to choose from, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times.
Fear not though. If you find yourself looking for a lawyer, follow this step-by-step guide on how to find the best lawyer for your situation.
Before you begin your search, you need to figure out whether you even need a lawyer.
If you are asking whether you need one, then the answer is probably yes. Some people think they can save money by handling the situation themselves. However, small legal issues can quickly turn into larger issues if not handled properly. Trying to save a few hundred dollars now may cost you tens of thousands down the road.
If you are ever in doubt about needing a lawyer, the easiest way to know for sure is to speak to a lawyer. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations for this exact reason.
Now that you know you need a lawyer, the next step is to figure out what type of lawyer you need.
While some lawyers practice everything, most focus on 1-3 practice areas. For example, a family lawyer handles issues such as divorce, child support, and spousal support. Meanwhile, an immigration lawyer handles issues relating to immigration, getting a work visa, and permanent residency.
It is generally best to find a lawyer that focusses on the specific legal issues you are facing.
Focussed lawyers tend to understand their practice areas better. Further, their deep knowledge of the relevant lay may allow them to provide high-quality work without charging for as much time spent researching the law.
Now we move to comparing specific lawyers. With so many options out there, it is important to know what you are looking for when hiring a lawyer.
Three things to consider when assessing your needs include:
People often think they have to speak English with their lawyer. But with so many lawyers from diverse backgrounds, you can usually find one that speaks your native language.
Can’t find a lawyer near you who speaks your language? No problem. Most legal issues can be handled remotely, and many lawyers now offer online legal services.
Expand your search beyond your neighbourhood to find a lawyer that offers online legal services in your preferred language.
Legal fees are one of the biggest concerns when hiring a lawyer. Lawyers are expensive – it sucks but it’s true. However, with the right approach you can find a lawyer that fits your budget.
The first – and most important – step is to set your budget. Most lawyers bill by the hour, but some lawyers offer fixed fees for certain services. For example, real estate lawyers and family lawyers may offer fixed fees for standard services such as a real estate conveyance or uncontested divorce.
You can look up average fees for legal services to determine how much you should expect to pay. While you won’t know the full cost, setting yourself a general figure helps you to keep things realistic.
It is important to note that an experienced lawyer with a higher hourly rate may be able to complete a task in less time than their “cheaper” alternatives. Be sure to ask lawyers for estimates of their rates as well as how long they expect the task to take.
The final thing you need to consider is when you need the job completed.
While two different lawyers may complete the same job in the same number of hours, one of those lawyers may not be able to start the job for another week due to their schedule.
That’s why it’s important to determine when you need the job done and ensure that you ask the lawyer for an estimated completion date.
Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time to start finding lawyers who fit the bill!
You should shop around before committing to a lawyer. While personal recommendations are an extremely valuable source of information, do NOT just go with the first lawyer a friend recommends to you.
In an ideal world, you would know several lawyers personally and be able to talk to their past clients about their performance. Unfortunately, that is not an option for most of us.
Using a lawyer directory with lawyer reviews is an extremely effective way to find lawyers.
Online lawyer directories allow you to easily find lawyers near you and compare them without all of the legal jargon and marketing messages that pollute traditional search methods.
To help with your search, we provide a free online lawyer directory that has over 96% of Canadian lawyers in one place! You can search these lawyers by practice area, location, free consultations, and more. You can also read lawyer reviews from past clients who know their work.
However you end up finding lawyers, remember to shop around to find the best lawyer for you.
Information that you find online about lawyers is always going to be limited, so it is important to know which questions to ask a lawyer on your first call or email.
To start, you should consider asking:
· How much will it cost?
· When will the work be completed?
· Has the lawyer performed many similar jobs in the past?
· How will you pay? (Most lawyers require a retainer fee paid upfront by cheque, but some lawyers allow other payment methods such as credit cards).
You can also ask a lawyer how likely they think your case is to be successful. No outcome is ever guaranteed, so be wary of any lawyer that guarantees a particular outcome.
In short, you can find a lawyer in the same way as any other service – by determining your needs, shopping around, and asking questions.
What makes the best lawyer will depend on your personal needs and preferences. But a good lawyer will always be open and honest about their fees and your likelihood of success.
When choosing the right lawyer, make sure you take your time and assess all your options. Taking the time to find the right lawyer will save you a lot of hassle (and money!) in the long run!