5 Things Most People Do Wrong When Selecting an Attorney

You know that your decision about legal representation is very important not only for the outcome of your case, but for your emotional and mental well-being in the process.  In your quest to find the best person for the best price, make sure that you don’t fall into these 5 pitfalls of mistakes people often make when selecting an attorney:


  • Not asking Enough Questions


People often fall into one of two categories:  Either they are a little intimidated by the legal system and afraid to ask questions, or they want to appear confident and knowledgeable, and so they don’t reach out with questions.  Don’t fall into this trap.  You need to ask questions, take notes, and make sure you understand every aspect of your legal representation.  Remember to ask:

  • Who will be handling my case?
    • The partner or an associate?
  • What experience does this attorney have in this particular case?
  • Would you consider it a complex or simple case?
  • How will I be billed?
  • Can you estimate the cost of this matter?
  • What is the most effective and cost efficient way to communicate with my attorney?
    • Phone calls, emails, coordinating with staff?
  • What evidence will need to be preserved and how should I preserve it?  



  • Failing to Examine Other Clients’ Results


Each case is unique, and a good outcome for another client doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great outcome for you because the facts and circumstances are different.  However, it is important to see what results other clients had to give you an idea of the level of experience an attorney has, and how satisfied other clients were with the representation.  A great firm will often post these results on their own website.  (See for example, http://www.davidknechtlaw.com/results/).  

  1. Not researching the practice areas of the potential attorney.  

In medicine, people are generally aware that you should find the right specialist – for example, you wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for brain surgery. You should certainly consider the practice areas of the attorneys you are considering.  Many attorneys will list their practice areas on their website.  (See for example, http://www.davidknechtlaw.com/practice-areas/).  If an attorney doesn’t list practice areas, you should ask how many cases of your type that attorney has handled.  You should be wary of attorney who is reluctant to identify practice areas because their reluctance may indicate a lack of experience in any one area.

  1. Skipping over the references.

It is surprising how many people hire an attorney without checking references.  You can use social media to crowd source the answer.  Some people post on Facebook asking for recommendations.  Others contact friends directly who have faced similar legal issues for advice.  If you are reluctant to make your search for an attorney public, another good sources of reference is the attorney himself/herself.  You can check the website.  (See for example, http://www.davidknechtlaw.com/testimonials/).  You can also ask the attorney if they would feel comfortable having you talk to a previous client.  Do your homework, and don’t forget references.


  • Choosing based only on cost.


While cost is a factor in your decision-making process, it should not be the only factor.  Some people are tempted to go with the cheapest attorney, only to find out that the bill adds up.  Others go with the most expensive attorney, assuming that cost correlates with successful outcomes.  The reality is that cost should be a consideration, but the attorney’s reputation, references, and experience should all weigh into your final determination as to who is best for you.