Shopping for the right attorney for your situation can be a daunting task, but knowing what to ask a potential lawyer can help make the process more manageable. It can also be the difference between choosing a good lawyer and choosing a great one.

Narrow it down

First things first: What do you need a lawyer for? “Narrowing your issue can help you limit your searches to the type of lawyer you need,” says Dan Davoe, director of marketing at Legal Hero, an online network that connects clients with lawyers. “It seems like a small step,” he says, “but it helps a lot.” Once you’ve pinpointed what your  legal issue is, your search becomes much easier. 

Look for experience 

Now that you know what needs to be addressed legally, it’s time to find someone with the right background. “The issue is likely very important to you, so it shouldn’t be a training exercise for the lawyer,” Davoe explains.  “Sometimes weird legal issues pop up that almost no one has experience it, but for the most part legal issues are relatively common, so make sure a potential lawyer can do the work needed.”

What can you save money on? 

Michael Fienman, criminal defense attorney at Fienman Defense LLC, says don’t be afraid of making money a priority when vetting candidates to be your lawyer.
“Asking some questions up front can save you from an unfortunate surprise later on,” Fienman says. “Most attorneys, but not all, offer free legal consultations. That’s something you should inquire about before committing to a phone conversation or an in-person appointment.”

Large firm v. single attorney

Michael Fienman tell us the benefits of hiring a solo practitioner versus a large firm.

Hire an individual: 

•    You’ll get personal attention to your case.

•    It might be faster to get your attorney on the phone. 

•    It might be easier to schedule a trial since a single lawyer is working on fewer cases at once.

Hire a firm:

•    Many larger firms have been around for a while, so there’s more to find when you look into their reputations. 

•    With a firm, it’s easier to pass everything off and not give input. 

•    If your case is unique, a firm could be more likely to have someone on staff with the exact right experience.