I’ve been asked by some how you should choose an attorney.  Well if you are needing something other than a business attorney in Colorado (because admit it, if you need a business attorney in Colorado, I rock), I have a few suggestions for you to help choose a great attorney for you:

1.  Try to get recommendations for people you trust that have used the attorney or know something about attorneys.  For instance, if you have had a friend go through a divorce, ask him or her about their divorce attorney.  If you use me as your business attorney, ask me if I can recommend someone to help you with a patent.

2.  Make sure you get along with your attorney.  If on first impression, you don’t click, don’t try to force it.  It is better to use the second or third best attorney in the field if it is someone you can talk to than the best attorney in the field who you can’t stand.  Trust is key when dealing with your attorney.

3.  Ask for recommendations from the attorney you are interviewing.  Many attorneys can refer you to former clients that can tell you what they thought.  Some, like me, have recommendations on their linkedin.com profile that you can view.  Hiring an attorney is like a job search – knowing their resume and recommendations isn’t too much to ask.  However, keep in the back of your mind that lack of recommendations doesn’t mean the attorney is bad, it may just mean that clients don’t want to break the attorney-client priviledge.  Use your best judgment.

4.  Ask what the attorney specializes in and find out if he or she has handled cases like yours before.  In some situations, an attorney may not have done something exactly like your case but should have done something similar.  If possible, also find out what type of cases the attorney likes to take.  If the attorney hasn’t handled your type of case but has a passion for x, it may make the attorney the perfect candidate for your case involving x.

5.  Ask what the attorney’s communications policy is.  Attorneys, like all other professions, have various policies on communication.  My policy is to return phone calls or emails within one business day – even if just to say I got your message and need to set up an appointment.  Some attorneys return them within two days, some weeks.  If prompt replies are important to you, ask upfront for return time on calls and emails.

6.  Clearly understand what the fees are.  Does the attorney work on contingency?  hourly rate?  flat fees?  Does it depend on the issue?  Some attorneys offer what sounds like the same service but if you compare what attorney a does with attorney b, the packages may be completely different.  If one attorney will do what another attorney will do for half the price, there is a chance that you are really only getting half the work done so be clear on what you get.

If you have other suggestions for picking an attorney, please post them. If you feel like posting about the multiple reasons that I am a great pick as your business attorney, feel free to do that too!

And, as always, if you need a business lawyer, or just think you might need one, please email me, Elizabeth Lewis, at elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com or call me at 720-258-6647.