Your In-House Legal Department

phone icon713-574-9577

How to Hire An Attorney


Hiring a lawyer is more difficult than most people think.  Most clients will hire a lawyer because they seem nice or because a friend or family member makes a recommendation.  Neither of those are reasons to hire a lawyer.  You would never hire an employee without interviewing them and checking multiple references, and hiring a lawyer is a much more important decision.  There are three simple rules in hiring a lawyer:  (1) Evaluate multiple attorneys; (2) Ask each lawyer lots of questions; and (3) Interview multiple references for lawyers you are thinking about hiring.

Here is some more detail:

Talk to More Than One Lawyer

No matter how big a rush you are in, do not ever hire the first lawyer you speak to. Talk to multiple attorneys so you get a feel for which is the best one for you.

Interview References – And Ask The Right Questions

Before you hire an attorney, ask him to give you references — AND CHECK THEM!  Make sure you request references from other attorneys they know as well as clients. Clients will be able to tell you whether the lawyer is easy to reach and returns his calls.  Other attorneys in the community will know about the lawyer’s reputation and professionalism. Questions you want answers to:

1) Is the attorney too busy to handle my case?

2) Does the lawyer return client (or other) phone calls and emails promptly?

3) Is the lawyer organized?

4) Does the attorney “show well” in court?

5) Did the lawyer get a good result for you?

6) Is the attorney afraid to go to trial?

7) How helpful is the attorney’s staff?

8) What is the lawyer’s reputation in the community?

Interview the Lawyer

You need to feel comfortable evaluating whether the lawyer is right for you and your case. Here are some suggested questions you can ask:

1) How many cases or matters like mine have you handled?

2) If your case is a litigation matter, you should ask how many cases the lawyer has tried before a jury.  Many lawyers are afraid to take the risk of going to trial or don’t have the money to finance a trial, and you want to make sure you have an attorney that is willing and able to try your case if necessary.

3) Have any complaints ever been filed against you with the state bar?

4) How long have you been licensed? How long have you been practicing?

5) What are your areas of expertise?

6) What support staff do you have at your law firm?

7) Are you going to be the primary lawyer on my case, or is some young associate at your law firm going to handle the matter?

If you follow the above guide, you will end up with a much better lawyer representing you.
If you are concerned about not knowing any lawyers to call, you can use an attorney referral service or join OnRetainer to get the information you need.