No matter your reason to need a lawyer, hiring one is not as simple as it may seem. There are plenty of lawyers out there, each with their own specialty and particular way of dealing with clients and cases, and every person is going to prefer one over another, so to choose one to assist you, it is important to familiarise yourself with the process, and ask the right questions.
Here are five tips for hiring lawyers in Calgary.
Ask for a Reference
The search for a lawyer starts much like a casual conversation: you ask a friend. Most people will need a lawyer at some point in their lives, so it is not unusual to find someone ready to provide a lawyer’s contact.
When asking for a reference, you need simply to specify what area of practice you’re looking for—civil litigation, real estate, family, or criminal law, for example—and, if you are comfortable, explain why you need a lawyer. Then, just let the person tell you about their experience with their legal team. Listening to someone else’s story can be the first step toward finding the best match for you because it allows you to outline your expectations realistically and gives you ground for research.
If you have no experience with legal matters or courtrooms, talking to your friends and family about it can give you a first perspective of how it is to be in contact with a lawyer and what you need to do to start solving your case.
Search the Internet
Even if no one is able to help you in your social circle, there are still countless law firms in Calgary. A simple web search will provide you not only with the contact numbers and emails from lawyers but also with the first look at their work.
With the proper keywords, you can find lawyers that specialize in the area that you need and that provide the services that you are looking for. For example, a family law firm can excel at divorce settlements, but not as much in child support cases, or a criminal lawyer can know everything about summary offences but not a lot about indictable offenses.
Another good resource is looking for law-related websites rather than firm-specific ones. News sites can hint you on the big names in the legal world, and sometimes even the names to avoid. You can also find information on what to expect from a lawyer in terms of professional conduct, appointments, fees, and practice. It is best to familiarise yourself with the legal process prior to contacting any firms, so you can write down all of your questions and give you some leverage to negotiate your case.
Study The Law Firms
After you find a few good options for you, it is time to compare them. Good lawyers have resource pages on their websites with articles and glimpses of how they can help you, so taking your time to go through those is worth the trouble.
Depending on your case, you will not need to hire a big law firm. Those are usually reserved for huge corporations with complex cases since they tend to have more resources at hand such as a large number of attorneys or offices across the province. Truth is, for personal matters it is generally best to contact small firms. The top lawyers in Calgary are not measured by the size of their firm, but by what they can accomplish and the quality of their service.
Smaller firms, also called boutique law firms, can provide more direct aid, with better communication and less bureaucracy. When a lawyer has too many cases on their desk, it is harder for them to keep track of the needs of their client.
Write down what you need and want in a lawyer. By knowing what you are looking for, you can start taking notes of everything that catches your eye on their website to make a pros and cons list.
Schedule Free Consultations
Most lawyers offer the first consultation for free, so look for those on their website. Take this opportunity to ask all of the questions that you have written down, and to meet the people you intend to work with.
Pay attention to how they treat you during the consultation and what kind of advice they provide. Feel free to schedule as many consultations with different lawyers as you wish, and don’t be afraid of asking the same questions to compare answers. You can even make a cross-examination between the law firms by subtly asking them about advice given by others.
This first contact with your options can be a valuable experience in aiding you to find the best lawyer for your case, so don’t miss it. You can only benefit from that.
Value Your Comfort
After all of the effort put into finding a good lawyer and the countless hours of research, it is finally time to choose one. Don’t be afraid of being picky, trusting your instincts can be a good thing. Compare your notes on each of the firms and assess which consultation was the most enlightening, but most of all, recall which lawyer made you feel more comfortable.
You are going to spend a good amount of time dealing with your new lawyer about your case, being asked questions, and listening to advice, so you must know you can trust the person you are working with. You need to feel seen, heard, and understood while you tell them about your problems, and not judged because of your case. If you felt like you didn’t connect with the lawyer during your first meeting or, worst of all, if you were disrespected by them, don’t waste your time: move to the next option.
At the end of the day, what is truly important is how comfortable and safe you feel around your lawyer, so if you feel like you need to start the process of choosing one all over again, don’t be afraid to do it.
Hiring a lawyer is a big decision and should be done with care. Most personal legal cases are emotionally heavy and can cause a lot of stress to an individual, so it is essential to do your due diligence and properly research the best lawyers for you in your area. As a bonus, not only you will be able to find a perfect match for your case, but you will also be better equipped for future needs.
It is absolutely possible to have your legal issues solved smoothly by a person you trust, and even if you have no clue where to start, following these tips surely will help you find your way into the legal world.