Written by Attorney Michelle Brekken

If you ever find yourself in need of a lawyer, finding the right attorney is not always easy. Choosing the right attorney to navigate your legal dispute is critical for establishing an effective attorney-client relationship and fostering success. Here are 6 qualities you should look for in choosing an attorney:

  1. Knowledge and Experience. In searching for an attorney, you should consider whether the attorneys’ practice area(s) and experience suits your needs. The lawyer that helped you with your speeding ticket may not be the right attorney to represent you for your divorce. This is why knowledge about the area of law for your particular case type is fundamental. In speaking with an attorney, you should inquire about their specific experience with cases similar to yours.
  1. Timeliness. The number one complaint about attorneys across the country is that they do not return their client phone calls or email correspondences in a timely manner, or otherwise fail to respond entirely. As attorneys, we are very busy, however prompt communication with your client or prospective client should be a priority. After contacting a firm regarding potential representation, the initial response time is usually a good indicator of the communication delay you should expect if you retain their services. If you are not a priority at the outset, chances are the same will be true once you retain the firm. Here at Miller & Stevens, we strive to excellent customer service and promptly respond to our clients. 
  1. Integrity. It is important to find an attorney that can be honest and objective regarding the merits of your case. A lawyer should fully advise of the risks, potential outcomes and evidentiary hurdles you may face. You should be very cautious of an attorney promising a favorable outcome – many practitioners unfortunately use this as a tactic only to get your business. Aside from the merits, a good attorney will be forthcoming about your options on how to proceed with your case in a cost-effective manner.
  1. Compassion. The best lawyer is one that cares about your case. Your attorney should be a zealous advocate for you and may potentially have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. An attorney should listen carefully to your concerns, be attentive and show compassion for your situation. If you are meeting an attorney in person, pay attention to their body language – are they looking at their watch, making eye contact with you or looking around? If you are getting the impression the attorney is only there to gather your information and get along with their day, this should be a clear indicator of their motivation to fight for your cause. 
  1. Professionalism. An attorney’s professionalism is significant when working with judges, lawyers and most importantly, with you. If an attorney is respected by the local bar, courtroom staff, prosecutors, judges etc. it can pave the way for a smoother resolution. If your attorney is aggressively adversarial or not respectful in their communications, it can invite feelings of frustration and unfortunately impede settlement. If an attorney is unprofessional with you, odds are the same is true in their communications with others while representing your interests.
  1. Rapport. The attorney-client relationship is paramount. When selecting a lawyer, you should ask yourself whether or not you believe you can have a good working relationship. If you do not feel comfortable with your attorney, this will most certainly present a challenge. If an attorney during your initial exchange is abrasive, condescending, disorganized, or otherwise does not give you confidence in working with them, consider how you will feel later on in your case when you have to make a tough decision. You should be able to make this determination from the outset, but another good resource for consideration is speaking with someone else who has worked with that attorney, if that is an option. A previous client will be able to provide you with valuable insight on their experience working with a particular lawyer. If this is not an option, take some time to read any available reviews online and pay more attention to the content of the review rather than the star rating. 

Some of these qualities can be difficult to gauge from a brief conversation. Here at Miller and Stevens, we offer a free 30 minute in-office consultation to meet with you face-to-face and adequately discuss your concerns.

If you feel you may be in need of legal assistance, contact us to schedule your free consultation to see if Miller & Stevens is the right fit for you at 651-462-0206.