If you don’t have a friend with a good recommendation, or one who is actually a lawyer themselves, how can you determine if someone is a good lawyer for you and your needs? Here is some important criteria to look for:
Before securing any attorney’s services, make sure you get a signed, written fee agreement detailing the basis or rate of the fee and the scope of the representation. Be skeptical of anyone who promises, guarantees or predicts a specific outcome or dollar delivery. Make sure your attorney does not enter into settlements or dispositions without your express, written consent. They should confirm the substance of oral agreements in writing and maintain communication with you throughout their representation, listening to your concerns.
Take note if they talk to you about other clients’ confidential information. An attorney is ethically bound to preserve his clients’ confidences and secrets as well as treat clients, and all involved in the legal process, with courtesy and respect. Your attorney should attend continuing legal education courses. It’s not a sign of weakness. Rather, the law is always changing and you want your attorney to be on top of developments in order to best represent you.
Lastly, feel free to contact your local bar association for more information. You deserve competent, professional representation.