With so many lawyers out there, how do you know if you’re choosing the right one? Selecting the wrong lawyer can be devastating, so you should make sure to do as much research as you can before finally settling on your attorney. Here are some points that will help you with your decision:

Know what you’re looking for.

Almost every lawyer has his or her area(s) of speciality. An attorney with decades of immigration experience is the wrong person to hire for a DUI case. Make sure you find a lawyer who understands your case and has expertise in the legal matter you’re dealing with.

Get recommendations.

Much like hiring a contractor or a babysitter, the best thing you can do is take the advice of a trusted friend. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter from a TV ad, and you shouldn’t hire your attorney through one either. If none of your friends or relatives have recommendations, there are myriad places online that can help you narrow your search.

Get educated.

Before you start looking for lawyers, get educated on your legal issue. Learning the lingo, understanding the issue, and knowing what you as the client will be responsible for will save you time and money. Educating yourself will also help you understand your lawyer more easily. You can visit other help articles on this site to get started on your specific legal problem.

Furthermore, if it’s a simple issue, like preparing a Living Will, you may even be able to do a lot of the work yourself. Filing out paperwork or knowing what exactly you need to provide saves everyone involved time and energy which translates into saving you money.

Shop around.

Your choice of lawyer is an incredibly important decision and the right one can make all the difference. Many attorneys will give you a free consultation, either in person or on the phone. They may be able to give you an estimate of the time and money they think your legal issue will take and how much money it will cost you. Don’t be afraid to get multiple opinions. It will help you better understand your issue and its complexity and make a shrewd decision about who best fits your needs.

Find out how much they charge and how they expect you to pay.

Once you’ve decided on your lawyer, make sure you understand how they charge for their services. The four most common fee arrangements are by the hour, on contingency, flat fee, or paying a retainer. While simple matters that don’t require litigation will often be on a flat fee, each lawyer and each legal issue if different. Understanding how your lawyer charges and getting your agreement in writing is of paramount importance.