Let me begin by saying that do-it-yourself’ advocacy has its limits. Surely, you can draft contracts on your own, you can survive terrible negotiations with your commercial clients, you can resolve a marriage dispute between you, but when the need arises to go to court, you need to get a lawyer. Expenses will be incurred, professional fees will have to be paid, and the normally lengthy process will have to be endured. Most of the time, the costs of solving a problem are much greater than the costs of preventing it. Prevention, as they say, is always better than cure. So hire a lawyer and hire a good one.
The “practice of law” is broadly defined as the meeting of the legal needs of another person through the application of legal principles and knowledge by a person qualified in the field. However, by this definition, a legal assistant or even a secretary who has knowledge of the law, who has been “trained” by the mere fact of having been employed for a period of time in a law firm, is considered to be involved in the practice of law. Therefore, when looking for an attorney, look for a “qualified” attorney. That is, make sure that your attorney has successfully completed his or her law course, has successfully passed bar exams, and is licensed to practice in the same jurisdiction in which a particular legal remedy is sought. When faced with a legal dispute, the last thing you need is a fake lawyer. It is perfectly ethical to ask for a lawyer’s license before you start sharing your most intimate secrets with them. Normally, however, they would hang their certifications on the wall.
Each qualified attorney has his or her own experience. He can be an expert in any of the following categories of law: international law, labour law, civil law, tax law, litigation or criminal law. These are the main categories. Therefore, you may hear of a litigation attorney or an immigration attorney. Note, however, that lawyers’ specializations are “acquired” through experience, not simply because they think they are good at it.
This is an aspect of law where a young and inexperienced lawyer can really get ahead of an experienced one. Young lawyers are generally vibrant, understanding and understanding. They tend to treat their clients like their babies. They take care of every detail, even the most insignificant. But that’s exactly how paying clients want to be treated. Clients tend to feel that they are getting their money’s worth with the kind of attention they are getting.
The personal qualities you should look for in an attorney depend largely on the type of client you are. If you are one of those who are not dumb, you may prefer to hire an older, retired attorney. These types of lawyers are less interested in what you have to say. Sometimes, they are not even interested in what they have to say. Advocacy has become a routine for them, like brushing their teeth in the morning. But their experience is impeccable. Their strategies are tried and tested, so your chance of winning your case is considerably high if you get them.
A lawyer’s credibility can be seen in several contexts. It can mean lack of a bad reputation. It can be built on charisma along with references from satisfied clients of the past. It can be destroyed by the lawyer himself, as when he gives legal advice and revokes his own legal opinion without dampening the effects. No lawyer can get clients if he or she is not credible and trustworthy.
So now you have a qualified, expert and credible attorney who has the personal qualities you are looking for. The next thing to consider is whether that attorney is available to address your problem. Most of the time, your attorney will tell you that he or she is willing, able and happy to help you. Behold, he said the same thing to several others this morning, and last week, and the week before. The point is that a lawyer can’t do much. He can’t attend all the hearings at the same time. He would probably resort to canceling or rescheduling important hearings and meetings to make ends meet. If your chosen attorney has a law firm, there will likely be other attorneys who can assist you if you are not available. You will find this acceptable but not until your case has been reassigned from one hand to another.
Having a “professional” lawyer is very different from having a lawyer who managed to “look” professional. They say that the legal profession is 80% represented. Representation begins when you first meet with your client. A lawyer would normally give you the “lawyer look”: you wear a suit, have a clean cut, drive a black luxury car and take a lawsuit case. This, however, is not what defines professionalism. Professionalism means your attorney attends to your needs, does your research, exceeds deadlines, and returns your phone calls. So don’t be fooled by the lawyer, look alone. It would be great if your lawyer can do it with the look of a lawyer and genuine professionalism.