There are dozens of reasons why you may need to hire a lawyer in Baltimore, from deciding to pursue a personal injury claim or petition for a divorce, to setting up a new business, but finding the perfect lawyer for your situation can be a fairly major challenge. Everyone has different expectations of what a lawyer should do to help them, and how they should go about it, but there are a few key points which everyone should pay attention to.
As there are so many to choose between we’ve put together this guide to help you in your search, so keep reading for our view on five things you need to know before hiring a lawyer in Baltimore.
- You need to know they are properly qualified
Many lawyers specialize in a particular field and choose to gain additional, relevant qualifications in that area. Choosing a lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable in the area you are concerned with is going to seriously boost your chances of a successful outcome. You could also look out for signs of ongoing professional development, always a good sign that a lawyer is fully committed to the work they do.
Some law firms specialize in one particular element, such as property, tax, or family law, but others consist of several different specialists working together under one roof. In this case, it’s worth checking that everyone who may work on your case is going to be from the relevant department.
- You need to know they have relevant experience
When it comes to experience it’s as much about quantity as it is quality, so you need to ask the right questions to ascertain the level of experience in cases like yours that a lawyer has. Of course, you also need to know their level of success in those cases too. There are very few lawyers that win all the cases they take on, but there should be pretty good reasons for most of the cases they lost. (These will depend on the case but could include losing on technicalities, missing witnesses, misinformation on the part of a former client and so on.)
If your legal issue is particularly complex or extremely rare then the need for a very experienced lawyer becomes more critical. It’s best to look for a law company which has several experienced lawyers who can work on your case if needed, or closely supervise any aspects which are taken on by more junior staff.
- You need to know how much things cost
Unless you have access to unlimited funds then the fees a particular lawyer charges is going to be a major factor when you are narrowing down your choices. Equally important is the way the lawyer calculates the billing for their time. This could be a flat rate, charged by the hour, or on a contingency charge basis.
If it is either of the first two options you should be able to get an idea of the anticipated total time or cost, and who is responsible for any additional costs/charges such as travel expenses, photocopying and so on. Don’t be afraid to investigate the possibility of negotiating on the costs, the worst that could happen is that they refuse!
When considering the fees you are quoted do keep in mind that the more experienced lawyers charge more than their less experienced colleagues.
- You need to know that they have a good reputation
If you have been lucky enough to get a direct recommendation for a good Baltimore lawyer from someone you know and trust, like a family member or close friend, or perhaps from another professional such as your accountant or a lawyer you know in another field, you will have a greater amount of insight than you would choose someone without such ‘insider information’. However, for most people this convenient route won’t be a viable option, so the only way to check out the reputation of a prospective lawyer is to do a decent amount of research yourself – for example, a great law firm in Baltimore is Costello law group.
The Internet can also be a great source of knowledge so long as you know what to look for, and read enough to get a balanced view. There are several review sites which independently assess law firms, as well as people who choose to share their experiences on forums and social media platforms. Not everything recorded online is 100% what it seems, so keep an open mind and consult a variety of sources to reduce the risk of bias.
- You need to know you can feel comfortable with them
A lawyer could be the best qualified and most experienced around but if you don’t feel comfortable with them it will be difficult to get the best possible result of the relationship. There is no definite blueprint for measuring this, it really comes down to what matters to you, but you should feel you can trust them to do their best for you.
This is where an initial consultation, whether that is in person or by phone, is so crucial. Pay attention to how promptly things are arranged, and how professional correspondence is. During the pre-hire chat, you can get a good idea of their approach, and if it will work well for you. If you feel the lawyer doesn’t really listen, answers questions and gives information in technical terms which you cannot understand, (and doesn’t check if you are following), or doesn’t seem terribly interested in your case then it’s probably wise to move along – there’s no need to compromise.
Your search for a lawyer in Baltimore will be both easier and more productive if you keep these five tips in mind when both looking for and making, a final choice on someone who is absolutely perfect for you and your situation. Lawyers provide a service for sale, just like any other profession, so there’s absolutely no need to put up with someone you don’t feel is able to do the very best job for you.