Mistake #1: Hiring a lawyer without the right area of expertise
Assuming all lawyers can handle all legal matters is an easy mistake to make. If you’re looking to close a real estate deal, you probably don’t want a lawyer who mostly deals with employment law and has never reviewed an offer to purchase. Going down that path could mean that your lawyer needs more time to work on your file than would someone who’s experienced in real estate law, and as the old saying goes—time is money.
Mistake #2: Choosing a lawyer for the wrong reasons
“He’s the cheapest in the city.”
“She’s running a promotion for this month only.”
“He’s my second cousin’s neighbour’s brother, so I’m getting a discount.”
Each of these is a valid reason for working with a lawyer, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. There are lots of other factors that should weigh on your decision, like the lawyer’s experience and reputation. You want a lawyer who truly values you as a client and who will be there for your legal needs in the future, long after any tactics to get you in the door have expired.
Mistake #3: Not understanding the costs involved
No one likes to find a surprise on their bill, whether it’s from your grocery store or your lawyer’s office. It’s important to understand what your lawyer charges for the services you’ll need. Your lawyer should review the cost breakdown with you and let you know if there are any additional costs you should expect.
It’s also helpful to know how your lawyer handles payments. If you need to pay in installments, for instance, that’s something you’ll want to discuss at the very beginning.
Mistake #4: Not coming prepared to your meeting
Some lawyers offer a free first consultation, but it’s often only for 30 minutes or so and then they’re on the clock (policies vary so check when you book). You don’t want to rack up legal fees before you’ve even decided if that lawyer is a good fit.
Think of the points you want to address. Bring along any relevant documents. Have your list of questions at the ready.
No matter if it’s your first meeting or your 10th meeting, coming prepared will help you and your lawyer make the most efficient use of your time.
Mistake #5: Not asking questions
Unless you have a legal background, you likely don’t know what every legal term means or how legal processes work—and that’s okay. You should feel comfortable enough with the lawyer you hire to ask questions as they arise, and the lawyer should explain them to you in a clear, concise way. Having this open rapport with your lawyer will ensure you’re not missing something that could cost you.
One of the best ways to find a lawyer who checks every box is by signing up at vexxit.com (we might be a little biased but hey, it works). You tell us what you’re looking for and our unique algorithm finds you the perfect match, for free. While we can’t help with legal fees, we can save you time and money on your search for a great lawyer.
What should I ask when I meet a lawyer for the first time?
What is your experience in handling cases like mine?
What can I expect to pay for your services?
Is there anything that might cause the cost to increase?
How will I be billed?
What is your availability like?
How will we communicate?
Do you have any recommendations for how I can keep my legal costs down?
What are the next steps?