After you interview a couple of attorneys, review your notes. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of the attorneys you interviewed. Decide what is most important to you.
Factors to consider in choosing an attorney include:
- Cost - Cost is rarely a deciding factor unless it is a simple case that will take little time and this is the only contact you plan to have with the attorney. However, it is always critical that you feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the financial arrangement. Disputes over fees are one of the most common conflicts between unhappy clients and attorneys.
- Experience - Does the attorney have the necessary experience for your case? For a simple will a relatively new attorney may be a cost effective choice. However, for a complex estate plan you are likely to prefer someone with more experience. The higher fee is likely to be balanced by not having to pay for the attorney to learn on the job.
- Availability - Can the attorney accept the case immediately? Will the attorney be able to devote the time you want to the case? This is particularly important if you prefer a lot of interaction with your attorney.
- Your Comfort Level/Mutual Respect - It is important not to choose an attorney simply because you share an interest in common or you are impressed by the firm's reputation. You should be satisfied with the expertise of the people actually working on your case. Will you trust them enough to tell them private matters (relevant to the case) that you may not have shared with others? Do you believe the attorney treats your ideas and opinions with respect?
- Choose a Lawyer Who Specializes in What You Need - You are likely to save money by choosing someone who has the knowledge and office systems set up to handle cases like yours cost-effectively. That attorney is also more likely to be knowledgeable about specific procedures relating to your case, expert witnesses in the area, and other attorney experts for consultation.