Finding the right lawyer

You're in a state of shock, or perhaps, of denial. You've just been involved in an accident, at fault, where the other party has been severely injured or killed. Or, it is you who has been injured, in an automobile crash, or an industrial accident. Or maybe, your spouse has cheated on you yet again and walked out the door for the last time. This is no time to have to try and start your legal defence, or to file suit to win compensation.

But that's exactly what you have to do. You need legal help, and you need it right now. Somehow, you have to fight through the mental and emotional fog, and make an incredibly important decision -- picking a lawyer to represent you in legal proceedings.

Sure, there are hundreds of ads for lawyers in the phone book. You can open up the Yellow Pages, and look at each of the ads -- trying to judge the character and the expertise of the lawyers listed by the style of the ad, or the faces in the photos. You can hope and pray that you'll stumble upon the right advertisement for the right lawyer to help you out of the unforeseen and undesired troubles that you're in. But is that any way to choose a lawyer?

Firstly, don't blindly pick a lawyer from the first advertisement that you see. Or from those late night commercials on television. In fact, don't make any decision immediately. Yes, time may be of the essence, given your situation, but rushing to a decision may end up leading to horrible consequences. Consequences that can't be undone.

Secondly, ask your coworkers and friends if they have any experience with hiring lawyers. You may find that a friend of a friend who has gone through a circumstance simlar to what you're experiencing, and knows of a lawyer who is qualified, experienced and supportive of his or her clients. There's no recommendation better than from someone who has experienced the same problem and gotten through it okay.

Thirdly, if no useful recommendations can be found, then you need to do some research. Don't be afraid to call several lawyers. Talk to them. Find out about their expertise in the kind of court case that you'll be fighting. Try and determine if you'll be able to interact with them without problems. Some people rub each other the wrong way -- you don't want to find yourself in that sort of situation when your court date arrives. Choosing the right lawyer is a difficult task, and it should never be rushed, if at all possible. As in everything, patience is a virtue. And since the consequence of losing your case might mean prison time, or huge medical expenses, or a lack of financial support after divorce, your choice must be the right one. And so, you have to be deliberate in your decision making, getting as much useful information as you can before you sign on as a client.

If possible, get a small number of trusted friends or family members to go over the possible choices with you. Sometimes, others can see things -- feel things -- that you might miss. Try not to make the decision alone. Remember, if the incident that started all of this happened mere hours ago, you're probably still in a daze.

To sum up: don't rush into a decision, talk with several different lawyers and try and determine if they'll serve your interests well and can work well with you, and if possible, seek out the advice of others before you make your choice. A hurried choice is often a bad choice. And a bad choice can lead to disappointment, heartache, and difficulty for you and your family.

Seek and Learn A friend who is a lawyer in New York State

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