If you’ve ever been on the wrong side of the law, then you know how important it is to have a lawyer in your contact list. Depending on your situation, having a lawyer could be the answer to all your legal problems. However, lawyers aren’t just restricted to lawbreakers. Nearly everyone requires legal services from time to time. Therefore, finding a lawyer to represent you in or out of court should be a serious and sober exercise. Here are some of the things to looks for when choosing a lawyer.
1. Sound Judgment
You can go to law school but you can’t teach sound judgment. Though law school trains future lawyers on how to assess cases using legal knowledge, having sound judgment is something that comes naturally. This means that some have it and some don’t. Make sure you choose a lawyer who has sound judgment since you’ll be relying on their judgment of your case. It’s hard to determine how good someone’s judgment is. In many situations, you’ll have to go with your gut feeling.
Fees are usually one of the most important things to consider when choosing legal services. You need to find a lawyer who fits your budget. Luckily, there are lawyers for everyone even for pro bono (free) work. After the consultation, the lawyer will let you know his fees. A good lawyer has a clear and appropriate fee structure. Make sure that the fees are worth the case. However, you shouldn’t compromise in a high stakes case.
A lawyer owes his client certain duties including availability. Whenever you need him, he should be available to attend to you. This doesn’t mean that your lawyer shouldn’t have other things to do. This simply means that he should have time for you in order to update you on your case progress. Whether it’s through appointments, phone calls or leaving your messages, you’ll need to stay in contact with your lawyer throughout your case, so get a lawyer who’s readily available.
Hiring an unethical lawyer puts your case at risk. Before choosing a lawyer, make sure you do your due diligence. Check whether they have been involved in any professional misconduct. You can do so by searching for their name online. Every lawyer in Kenya who is admitted to The Bar has a profile on the LSK website which shows whether they are active, inactive, suspended or struck off. But you can also ask around to find if the person is ethical.
General practice lawyers can help you with common legal problems such as petty crimes, drafting and endorsing documents and general legal advice. However, if you have a delicate matter, you need to consult a lawyer with knowledge and experience in that filed. For instance, child custody matters require the services of a family lawyer. Therefore, when you’re looking for one, check whether they have family law listed as one of their practice areas.
If you’re in doubt about your lawyer’s ability to handle your case, don’t be afraid to ask for references. You can ask which cases he’s worked on in the matter and their outcome. Sometimes, it’s not enough to have knowledge in the field. It’s also important to have a positive outcome in a case so as to display competence. Additionally, you can ask former clients or fellow advocates about the lawyer’s conduct so as to know what you’ll be dealing with.
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