Tips for Hiring and Working with an Attorney

So do you need a lawyer? Here are some tips to help you manage the process from start to finish.

Lawyer 101 - The Basics

When you are involved in a legal dispute, a healthy attorney-client relationship is crucial - most clients who are actively involved in resolving their legal issues are satisfied with the outcome. Here you will find information to help you hire and work with an attorney.

When do you need a Attorney?

When you have legal problems, you need information. Law books written for the layman, as well as online websites, are a good place to start. Bar associations and nonprofit public interest groups often publish useful information that will allow you to educate yourself about the law.

But as it happens, not all questions can be answered with do-it-yourself documentation, especially if:

  • You need personalized advice tailored to your situation, or
  • Your legal issues are particularly complex.

Time to see a lawyer. Attorneys can provide you with strategic advice, research legal issues and defense.

How much help do you need from a lawyer?

One way to work with a lawyer is to hand over your entire legal matter and rely on the lawyer to solve the problem. If you're putting off something -- say you're planning to set up a trust for your grandson, you need to go through bankruptcy to pay off old debts, or you're having particularly difficult legal issues. Like a nasty lawsuit - hiring a lawyer to handle everything might be just what you need. There's no denying that taking the problem to a trusted professional can save you a lot.

However, you may need some advice or some training so that you can handle some legal matters yourself. Many lawyers are willing to provide limited help—such as reviewing documents or researching specific issues. To find an attorney who does, just look at the attorney's file: Nolo asks attorneys to indicate whether they are willing to train clients or review documents prepared by clients.