MANY PEOPLE RARELY NEED TO ENGAGE the services of a lawyer, so when they find themselves requiring an attorney, they can feel challenged. Fortunately, the process of hiring an attorney in Ohio is relatively simple. Potential clients, however, need to know what to look for and the appropriate questions that need to be asked.
THE ATTORNEY’S EXPERIENCE is the first consideration. Although there have been instances of an attorney who performed admirably in his first case, it is usually best to hire an experienced lawyer. The term “experienced” does not necessarily mean age or the number of years the attorney has been licensed to practice law. It refers to the number of similar cases that the lawyer has handled recently.
For example, an attorney who has devoted his or her practice to matters related to divorce for the last 15 years might not be as suitable for a client facing embezzlement charges as an attorney who has spent the last four years defending those charged with a white collar crime.
CONSIDER THE ATTORNEY’S CHARACTER next. Has the attorney ever been subjected to disciplinary action by an ethics committee or had his license to practice law suspended or revoked in any state. The Ohio Supreme Court or local Bar Association can provide information on an attorney’s professional standing, including any specialty certifications as well.
AN ATTORNEY’S CASELOAD can affect your experience. If an attorney takes on too many cases, clients sometimes suffer. The attorney simply does not have enough time to devote to every client’s case. Another issue that can arise from an overloaded attorney is scheduling conflicts. The attorney might be tied up in court on another case at the same time as a second client’s hearing is scheduled to begin. This can result in a postponement or delays, which can inconvenience the client.
THE ATTORNEY’S PERSONALITY is important when you need to interact with them on your case. The attorney-client relationship must be one of mutual trust. It can be difficult for a client to trust a lawyer if the client dislikes the attorney’s attitude or demeanor, feels that the attorney is disrespectful, or gets an impression that the attorney really does not want to represent him or her.
Every client has a different idea of the kind of treatment expected from an attorney. For example, during a painful divorce, one client might insist that an attorney show compassion, but another client might resent a sympathetic attitude.
CONSIDER THE GUARANTEES offered by the attorney. In simplest terms, the attorney is not allowed ethically to make guarantees. No attorney can offer an ironclad guarantee of what the verdict will be although it is possible to make an informed estimate of the probability of success.
Experienced attorneys can guide you on what the Court may order based on the legal knowledge that they have gained over the years. Lawyers have experience working with the various Judges and can advise on what the court is likely to do. Experienced attorneys know the law, and the law is what the Court must follow.