By Steve Bender
If you are needing a lawyer in Australia, chances are good you aren’t totally sure of where to start your search.
Of course, whatever your legal need is going to play a big role in deciding what type of attorney you are looking for, but there are far more aspects to keep in mind when you are in the midst of your search for the right legal counsel and assistance.
Here are 9 factors to keep in mind when you are choosing the right lawyer for you in Australia and abroad!
First off, the firm that you are thinking about working with should have a fantastic track record of producing great results for its clients. That might sound like a very high bar to set, but when it comes to your legal needs there is no bar too high.
When it comes to the legal process, you have to keep in mind that sometimes the chips are stacked against you. But you’re going to need more than just a good lawyer, you’re going to need a great lawyer.
Make sure to ask for a Case Study or Practice Area summaries to see examples of the firm’s work.
Look into whether or not the firm you want to work with has a record of partnering successfully with international, national, and regional firms when needed. This is especially important if you are either an Australian who is facing possible legal or civil action somewhere else in the world, or if you are some who is not an Australian citizen but are facing possible legal or civil repercussions in Australia.
If that is the case, you will want to be sure that the firm you work with has experience in dealing with lawyers and laws of different parts of the world.
In order for you to be fully confident in the firm that you want to work for, that firm must have a reputation for honesty and great drafting skills among both its peers and clients. One great way to find that out is to find referrals for the firm that you are interested in.
Look for people with great business experience who are able to understand both sides of the matter so that they understand the issues that are involved and where are parties involved are coming from.
If you are unable to find personal references for a firm, don’t hesitate to search for firms on Google, LinkedIn, or other popular search engines.
Does the firm wait for trouble to come to them or do they assist clients in the prevention and investigation of potential liabilities before they turn into full-fledged court cases? This is a great question to know the answer to if you are facing possible legal implications.
If you are curious about whether or not they are proactive in their legal dealings, ask them if they have negotiated severance arrangements, releases, waivers, and settlement agreements prior to the commencement of any litigation involving their clients in the past. Also see if they seem open to keeping an open line of communication.
The aim in almost all cases should be to settle when it makes sense, but at the same time prepare for trial if necessary. Experienced and confident attorneys certainly do not shy away from running a legal matter by the court. It is good to find out whether or not the firm has at least one reported decision. Knowing that your firm has trusted team of barristers to help if your case does go to court should also help you feel confident that you are making the right decision.
Make sure that you know exactly how much you will be expected to pay for the legal services that you are receiving. If you are paying a fee, make sure you know the ins and outs of the contract. If you are paying on contingency, make sure that you know the exact percentage that you can expect if your case settles out of court, or if it has to go to court to reach a final decision in front of a judge.
Is the lawyer or firm you want to work with practical when it comes to how they approach your case? Do they get a handful of individuals on file and continue to bill them just them just to make their monthly budget? The lawyer shouldn’t be looking for a quick buck, they should instead be looking to get you what you want within a price that works for both parties.
Make sure they understand your financial budget and are able to nail down a number that works for both parties.
Comprehensively understanding the legal position that you are in is more powerful than having a powerful firm with a strong reputation. What does the firm say about the work they will do upfront to understand your stance within the civil or legal suit your are facing. If your position isn’t so strong, how confident are they in their ability to at least form a meritorious argument that you can stand on so that you will not be wasting your time and money. Check to make sure that they know the boundaries of privilege and other legal protections for witnesses and parties, and how to successfully use those defenses as offenses.
Business vs. Personal
Does the lawyer you want to work with deal with both business and personal legal needs and problems? Sometimes it is pretty hard to draw a line between personal and business interests. That’s why it’s important for you to be sure that whatever the issue is, your attorney has experience within that field and is confident in their ability to help you reach the result that you need.
Whatever way you cut it, it is always important to know that you have the right legal team on your side, whether you’re headed to court or just looking to settle.
Hopefully, these factors and tips help you find the right lawyer for you.