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How do I Select the Right Attorney?

If my doctor told

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me I needed brain surgery I would choose the surgeon very carefully. I would not type “brain surgery” in a search engine and let my fate rest on the first website that popped up. I would also not rely on information found in a pamphlet in my morning newspaper. I would carefully select my surgeon based on the recommendation of trusted professionals and loved ones.

If I needed to select an Elder Law or Special Needs Attorney, I would also apply the same strategy. Okay, one may think this is comparing apples to oranges, but the concept for selecting a professional should be the same.

Once I narrowed down the search, I would check out the attorney on his or her website and rating services such as Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

It is important to interview an Elder Law or Special Needs attorney and ask questions before making a final selection because you don’t want to end up spending time and resources with someone who can’t help you. This can be done by phone.

Here are a few suggested questions you should ask:

  • How long has the attorney been in practice?
  • What areas of law does the attorney practice?
  • How long has he/she focused on the particular area of law?
  • What percentage of his/her practice is devoted to Elder Law or Special Needs Law?
  • Is there a fee for the first consultation with the attorney, and if so, how much is it?
  • What specific information/documentation should you bring to the initial consultation?

The answers to these questions should help you determine whether the attorney has the necessary qualifications to help you. If you have a legal issue that requires immediate attention, it is important to inform the office of this during the initial telephone conversation in order to expedite the process.

It is also very important to discuss fees and expenses upfront. There are many different ways an attorney can charge and when you will be billed.

Once you decide to hire an attorney, ask the attorney to put your arrangement in writing in the form of an engagement agreement. This writing should specifically define the services that will be performed and the fees that will be assessed.

Hiring the right attorney will allow you to have peace of mind.

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