An ideal lawyer will not just have a string of impressive credentials or gold lettering on his door. He or she will be caring, concerned, and devoted to their work. You need to think carefully before laying your trust in a lawyer after all in some cases your life, future, money or property will be in his hands.
Apart from doing extensive research to short list possible lawyers you must ensure that there is not conflict of interest, that you understand everything the retainer agreement states, and that you have checked the references and details regarding the practice.
You will know the lawyer you have chosen is the perfect one if:
1. He makes an effort to spend time to understand your case himself. He will not assign a legal assistant to take facts of the case down.
2. From experience and knowledge he will know what is relevant and what is not. He will set aside and ignore irrelevant facts, opinions, and personal emotions that cloud the case on hand.
3. He will insist that the footwork for the case be done thoroughly. All facts must be checked for accuracy and solid arguments jotted down with backing of earlier rulings.
4. He will not just focus on the problem at hand but examine the problem from all sides. This will create a complete picture highlighting all factors of relevance and the different ways one can approach the case.
5. He will use his foresight and anticipate moves by the opposition or opinions of the jury or judge and plan way ahead. Like a master chess player he will plan the case not by the day but by many hearings ahead.
6. He will not waste time beating around the bush or create verbose statements—many words strung together which look impressive but mean nothing. He will insist that the case and its arguments be clearly stated.
7. He will be self-disciplined, thorough, and self confident. Courteous at all times he will respect you as well as all the staff who work for him.
8. He is recommended by not just his friends and relatives but by other professionals of good standing and from his field.
9. He will not just present to you his victories but be happy to tell you why and how he lost certain cases.
10. He will lay the cards on the table and tell you clearly whether your case stands to win or loose. He will not claim that winning is guaranteed. He will be honest and upfront about his opinions and advice.
The bottom line is that the lawyer must be worthy of your trust. Use your inborn instincts and don’t go by the lawyer’s good looks or fancy car or office. After all it is competence in law and in court that is of essence to you.