13/01/2020 by Christopher Soll
How to Choose a Law Firm That’s Right for You
(Originally posted 09/03/2018)
Choosing a lawyer for your case can be a difficult task if you don’t know what to look for. There are many different types of practices, varying in size, area of specialty, and experience explained here below. If you have the time, it’s ideal to examine the benefits and drawbacks of each of these features by meeting with more than one lawyer before choosing who will represent you. If you feel uncertain about a law firm, you should meet with another lawyer to compare before signing a retainer. Having the right starting point can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
At Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP, we want to help make your search for legal representation easier. As a law firm in Kamloops with more than 40 years of experience, we recommend taking the following into consideration:
When you have a legal issue you need help with, it is important to narrow down what area of law your case falls into. For example, if you are getting separated or divorced, you would look for a law firm that practices family law. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you would look for a criminal lawyer. If you were looking for assistance in preparing your will or power of attorney, you would need a wills and estates lawyer.
Law firms can practice in a few areas of law, exclusively specialize in one area of law, or they can practice almost any area of law, in what is known as a full-service firm. The more practice areas in a firm, the more likely it is that it’s a larger law firm to accommodate various types of lawyers.
There are drawbacks and benefits to the size of the law firm you choose. For example, a small firm may be able to dedicate more attention to you and your case. You may also have just one point of contact. However, it may not have the resources of a large firm. Alternatively, at a larger firm, you may find yourself communicating with an office manager, a junior lawyer, and a senior lawyer at various times as they each assume different roles in your case. A large firm, however, may have access to the resources it needs for your case if it’s complicated and requires other professionals, such as accountants.
Experience is an essential component to look for in a law firm. You will want to inquire about the number of similar cases the lawyer has worked on.
Communication & Service
Another important feature of a law firm to look out for is the method and style of communication. Some lawyers prefer to focus on the work and speak with you on a bi-weekly or monthly basis (when necessary) whereas other lawyers may communicate more often, especially if there are any updates to report. You might be the type of person that likes to chat and check-in more often or you might not want to be overwhelmed with information. Further, some firms will phone you with updates while others prefer email updates. Learning this early on can help manage expectations for the relationship with your lawyer.
The way a law firm bills you may be important for your financial circumstances. For example, some law firms require large, up-front retainers while others may allow an interim billing system where they bill you bi-weekly or monthly. Finally, some firms (most often personal injury law firms) work on a contingency basis, whereby you pay little/no retainer upfront and instead, agree to a percentage of the settlement. The cost structure depends on the practice area, the lawyer, and the firm’s billing policies. You need to decide what you are financially comfortable with as well.
The most important factor of all is how comfortable the lawyer makes you feel in your initial meeting. Perhaps the lawyer oversold themselves to you as a “guaranteed winner” making you feel as though they are disingenuous. Perhaps the lawyer spoke down to you or diverted attention away from your questions, leaving you confused and weary. Or, you may have felt that the lawyer understood your issues well and would keep you updated on any potential risks and issues.
Your Kamloops Law Firm for Efficient & Fair Resolutions
If you’re looking for a lawyer that handles family law, wills and estates, real estate, or criminal law, contact us at Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP. Our law firm in Kamloops takes pride in making clients feel comfortable. Set up your initial consultation to meet with us, find out our plan of action for your case.
Call 250-372-1234 today.