Choosing a lawyer

Finding a lawyer, be it a divorce attorney, immigration attorney, or criminal defense attorney, can take time and effort. A lawyer has legal training and expertise in the law and can give you service in a wide range of areas, including family law and divorce law.

Find an attorney

There are a wide array of lawyers to help you with your legal matters. Here are some things to consider when choosing a lawyer:

  • Always ask about fees and expenses in the first interview. Ask the lawyer to estimate about how much it will cost to solve your problem - including fees and expenses.
  • Make sure you have a written agreement with your lawyer that covers fees. If your lawyer doesn't use a standard form for this, ask for a letter confirming your discussion.
  • Ask how long your case will likely take.
  • Does the attorney have experience in your type of problem?
  • Ask the lawyer for a realistic opinion of your case and your chance of winning. Should you settle the case, instead of suing? Can you do anything to reduce the lawyer’s time on your case, and to reduce your costs?
  • Your lawyer should inform you immediately if he or she forgets to do something important or makes a mistake.
  • Can the lawyer work on your case right away, or will you have to wait until other cases end? Will that make a difference to your case?
  • Does the case interest the lawyer?
  • What steps will solve your problem and how much time will each step likely take?
  • Be reasonable. Try to agree on the minor things that aren't worth fighting about. Save your time and money for the important things.

Your lawyer should explain to you confidentiality (which means that your lawyer cannot discuss your case with others without your permission), your role and the lawyer’s role, the steps in the legal process, your legal options, your chances of getting what you want, the risks you face, if any.

Pro bono legal services

Pro bono basically means free, and in these programs, private and experienced lawyers volunteer to provide free legal advice to those who can’t reasonably afford a lawyer or can’t get legal aid.

Criminal defense attorney

If you have been charged with a crime, a criminal defense lawyer can give you specific advice on options to consider regarding possible sentencing by the judge and whether you should testify.

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