Myth #1 – I Need the Most Expensive Attorney Money Can Buy.
Everyone wants a Rolls Royce, but most of us can only afford a Hyundai. When you interview an attorney, ask what their rates are and their estimate of their total fees. If you feel that their fees are higher than you can afford, ask them for a referral to someone who is less expensive. Attorneys frequently refer clients to other practitioners for this and other reasons and a good lawyer does not take it amiss if you want to go elsewhere.
Myth #2 – Lawyers Can Do Anything.
Many attorneys have a particular legal expertise, such as estate planning or immigration. Boutique law practices which practice a particular kind of law often have a lower overhead than a general services law firm because they sharply focus on one area of law. On the plus side, they don’t have to start from square one to figure out how to deal with your particular legal issue.
Myth #3 – Younger is Better.
Someone fresh out of law school has an excellent grasp of current law, but a newly-minted attorney may not have experience dealing with your particular legal problem. Unless they are working in a firm with other attorneys that they can call on for advice, you might want to give a novice practitioner a pass.
Myth #4 – Older is Better.
If someone has been practicing law for decades, you will benefit from their broad experience. On the other hand, if they have not kept up their knowledge up to date you might want to find someone more turbo. If the attorney does not have a computer in his or her office and their secretary is flipping through a rolodex at their desk for phone numbers, you might want to keep looking.
Myth #5 – Only an Attorney Is Qualified to Deal with My Legal Problem.
Many law practices have paralegals or legal specialists who do the grunt work of a case, whether it’s gathering information or preparing initial drafts of highly technical filings. Well trained legal technicians help keep costs down for you. When you are interviewing an attorney, ask what percentage, if any, of the case work will be done by paralegals or legal assistants. Unless the attorney can give you assurance that he or she has an excellent legal support team, you should keep looking.