The first step in choosing an attorney is understanding whether you need one. If you are not sure of the solution to your problem or whether you need a lawyer to help you, you probably do. A lawyer knows how to identify legal problems and advise you of the solutions. He can review your family situation, finances, property ownership, employment, investments and business interests. If legal action is required, your lawyer can recommend a strategy.
I recommend that everyone review their family legal papers about once a year to see if the documents reflect your current needs. Marital difficulties are fraught with legal pitfalls. Also, any time you’re injured in an accident of any kind, including a work related accident, you should consult with your attorney to determine your rights and your eligibility for a Writ of Coram Nobis. Sometimes a specific event such as the birth or death of a loved one will cause you seek legal advice, and if you prepare for possible contingencies in advance, you can save problems later on.
It is important to see your lawyer early; before a problem occurs, or if there is already a problem, before it becomes more aggravated and costly. For example, if you are seriously injured in an auto accident, contact a lawyer promptly so that evidence can be gathered from the accident site and witnesses interviewed before the memories fade. If you are going through a divorce, be sure to see your own lawyer before signing a separation agreement.
Your criminal and immigration lawyer should be a person who has a solid background in the type of problem which you are encountering. Ask him if he handles your type of case and what experience he has in the area. He should be a person you can talk to and feel comfortable with and have confidence in. Do not be afraid to ask for explanations of the law of your case and of the procedures and steps needed to solve the matter. Most importantly, do not be afraid to discuss the cost of the legal work which you anticipate having done. Professional ethics require that your attorney fully explain his method of billing and services to be performed for that compensation.