Choosing a Good Lawyer

Having to choose a lawyer is not a situation most of us are faced with very often and, perhaps, that is the reason we find ourselves fearful and lost when the burden comes upon us.

Across the globe, falling into a law suit is never pleasant- unless, of course, you’re the lawyer!! So what is it that one can do, if anything at all, to make the best of a scenario we’d rather not be in?

At the very outset, it would be a good idea to ascertain the nature of the matter at hand- is it an inheritance issue, is it property related, is it of a criminal nature etc. This would help us in determining the nature of service sought/ area of specialisation of the lawyer. For, it is always a good idea to hire a specialist.

The second step would be to try and gauge the seriousness of the issue and how severe a stand needs to be taken. Though the real picture on this front can only be shown by your lawyer, it might be sensible for you to try your hand at it initially.

Once you have an idea of the above two, you might find it easier to narrow down to a relatively fewer number of lawyers that fit your bill (pun intended). What you need to do next is carry out a background check of your shortlisted numbers. Now, this, unfortunately, is not as easy/ reliable in India as it is probably in many foreign countries.

So, how do you go about your own little ‘due diligence’ activity? Just a few things maybe. You could speak to acquaintances that have used the services of lawyers on your list. Find out what their experiences were like- did they like the lawyer on a personal front (if their response is in the negative, don’t get too shaken- being disliked by and large is just a misfortune almost all lawyers take upon themselves the day they collect their degrees in law!), were the lawyers forthright in their dealings with client- viz., did they communicate their opinion, strategy, course of action etc. clearly or did they attempt to act high & mighty just to appear more important (and later present a higher bill, of course), how was the overall experience and, most importantly, what was the outcome?

In case you have been able to further narrow down your list by now, try and sought a brief meeting with the remaining lawyers. Not all, but many lawyers do offer a ‘free’ first consultation nowadays.

Now, while the real advise you get from this ‘free’ consultation might be next to nothing, you will surely get a better idea of what to expect from the lawyer. During this meeting, you might also try to gauge the lawyer’s expertise in the specific area to which your matter pertains as well as his chances of success therein (disclaimer on the lawyer’s behalf- the data provided might/will be vastly fabricated). You can also try and get a feel of how it is to interact with each of these lawyers. Further, attempt to find out during these meetings what the lawyer’s approximate fees will be. Here you need to bear in mind that though sometimes, the interim damage to the pocket may seem bad, the chances of procuring a favourable judgement , and thus, long term benefits (whether monetary or otherwise) are higher.

What’s next- choose your lawyer and if you are a believer, pray to God- for only these two can save you hereon!

All the best!

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