When you are “shopping” for a lawyer, my advice is to use similar criteria as you would when looking for a specialist physician. Below are few points to consider when deciding on which law firm / lawyer to trust with your particular legal issue.

  • Make sure that the lawyer is in fact specializing in the area of law that you need help in. Check out that lawyer’s bio on his’ or hers website. Ask what percentage of practice he or she devotes to your particular field.
  • If you issue is complex, look for a lawyer who spent at least 3-4 recent years working in that field.
  • Do not pay too much attention to whether or not a particular law firm has an “expensive image”, as money spent on advertising is not always related to how successful a particular law firm is.
  • Ask for recommendations but do not rely on them exclusively. Try to do your own research.
  • Lawyers who practice litigation must have skills similar to those of excellent sales people. Knowing how to “sell” their client’s position to opposing counsel is a crucial skill for any litigator. If a lawyer cannot convince you, a potential client, that he or she is experienced, professional and knowledgeable, you better hire someone else. A good lawyer also must be able to communicate with you in a manner that is clear, concise and is easy to understand.
  • Law as a profession is heavily regulated. Law Society of Ontario, an Ontario regulatory body for lawyers and paralegals, has published an excellent resource called Choosing the Right Legal Professional.
  • Last but not least, a good lawyer will make you feel certain that he or she is doing their absolute best to achieve the most optimal outcome on your behalf. You must be confident that everything that can possibly be done to advance your position will always be done by the lawyer you have decided to hire.

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