When you’re dealing with any sort of legal situation, you, unfortunately, have a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. If you say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing — or even if you fail to do the right thing — you could end up hurting your case.
If things are so complicated, how can you navigate a tricky legal situation? Simple: You need to hire someone who is paid to worry about these sorts of things. And that someone is a trained and licensed attorney.
Do you need an attorney?
You may be wondering: Do I need an attorney? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you think you need an attorney, then you probably do.
Are the police trying to talk to you? Then you need an attorney, even if you have not yet been arrested or even questioned. Have you been hurt and are you thinking of suing? If yes and yes, then you need an attorney.
And it helps to get an attorney fast, the professionals say. The longer you wait, the more relevant evidence is disappearing. And your options could narrow with time, too. Among other issues, the statutes of limitations for various types of lawsuits could expire.
Finding the right type of attorney
A lot of lawyers are out there. But a number of legal specialties are also out there. Lawyers aren’t all good at the same things, and they can be highly specialized. So get the type of lawyer who can help with your case. If you’ve been in an accident, you need an accident lawyer who can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. You may even be able to find lawyers who specialize in your particular type of accident: car accidents, for instance, or motorcycle accidents. That’s just one example, of course, and tons of different specialists are out there for all of your different legal needs.
Finding the right attorney for you
Your search isn’t over when you find the first lawyer of the right type, of course. You can and should make a list of options. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and check out online reviews. Learn what to look for on attorney websites. Find evidence that they specialize in your type of case, read client testimonials, and look for information on their education and other credentials. You can’t know everything about every attorney, but you can certainly learn quite a bit before you make a call to schedule an appointment. Know what you want in a lawyer, make a list, and meet with one at a time.
How to speak to an attorney in a consultation
You’ve made it so far! You’re dealing with a situation that requires an attorney, and you recognize that. You’ve taken the time to figure out what sort of attorney you should work with, and you’ve searched diligently for a good one in your area, comparing notes from reviews, recommendations, and your own research. You’ve found a great attorney, called their office, and made an appointment for your initial consultation. Now all that’s left is to talk to the attorney.
But you still have a bit more to do. To get the best results from your consultation, you should be sure to clearly explain your situation to the attorney in question. You should make sure that you bring the sort of relevant documentation that will help your attorney understand your situation and, ideally, choose to take the case and represent you. That documentation includes police reports (make sure to get your copy at the scene of an accident or crime!), medical bills, pay stubs that show lost wages, photographs that demonstrate your case, and more.
Speak clearly and stick to the facts. Try not to get emotional. Focus on the concrete details of what has happened to you and what you hope your attorney can help you achieve.
If you know how to find an attorney and how to speak to one once you’ve found one, you’ll be much more likely to get a great outcome for your case.