Whether you require assistance drafting commercial documents, establishing a family trust or a Harvey Specter Closer for your commercial deal, who you choose as your lawyer matters. Australia has more than 60,000 practising solicitors, and it is important you work with one who is the right fit for you and your business. Your lawyer is likely to become your confidant and it’s important you can candidly chat with him or her. Below, we set out a few tips and tricks to assist you in selecting the right lawyer for the task.

Tip No 1: Retain an Honest Lawyer

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Despite what popular shows have led you to believe, they exist. But how do you determine a lawyer’s integrity? Simple. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation. Use this to your advantage. Research, prepare and ask plenty of questions. The legal fraternity is a tight-knit bunch, so if there is a lawyer with a reputation for engaging in unscrupulous practices, you can rest assured that we already know. Ask around and read online reviews or testimonials.

Tip No 2: Retain a Lawyer Who is Accessible

Ideally, you want to choose a lawyer that is not only easy to talk to but is accessible. Nothing is more frustrating for clients than a lawyer who takes days to respond. A good lawyer should respond to your queries the same day. If he or she needs more time to reply, they should send you a quick holding email informing you of this fact. Good communication promotes a feeling of security and builds trust and confidence between the lawyer and client – this is essential to sustaining a strong lawyer-client relationship.

To determine whether the lawyer you propose to engage will be responsive, enquire as to whether you can call them after hours, via email or phone should you have any questions. If the lawyer is displeased with the idea, keep looking.

Tip No 3: Choose a Lawyer Within Your Price Range

Choosing the right lawyer for you, means choosing one within your price range. Lawyers can charge by the hour, per document or on a fixed fee basis. It is important to make enquiries about the pricing structure at the outset and save yourself an unpleasant surprise on receiving a large invoice. Make sure to read the costs agreement, ask for estimates at each stage of your legal journey and do not be afraid to inform your lawyer of your legal capabilities. Most lawyers are willing to work with clients in scoping work (within reason), so don’t be afraid to negotiate the fees.

Tip No 4: Select a Lawyer With the ‘Right’ Experience

It seems obvious doesn’t it? Choose the right man or woman for the job. Time and time again clients engage high-profile lawyers who have little to no experience in the areas of law for which they require their services. General practitioners are good for general legal work, but they often lack expertise in specialised, complex and/or obscure areas of law. In particular circumstances, you may wish to engage a Barrister (who is akin to a specialist) to assist you with your legal issues.

Tip No 5: Choose the Right Size Law Firm

Bigger is not always better, and there are advantages to engaging a lawyer from a small-medium sized firm. In most cases, lawyers from boutique firms will provide you with personalised and timely attention. However, if your matter is particularly complicated and involves multiple enterprises, there are distinct advantages to engaging a large firm. Larger firms tend to have industry contacts and greater resources regarding finances and manpower, which smaller firms can rarely compete with, let alone match.

Tip No 6: Avoiding Problems

Most problems with lawyers and clients stem from a lack of communication or unclear communication. If a problem does arise, do not be afraid to raise it with your lawyer. Nip the issue in the bud before it escalates. If you are unhappy with the progress of your matter, advise your lawyer of this fact and work towards a mutually amicable solution. If you cannot see eye to eye, it may be time to part ways and seek alternative representation.

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Pursuing your legal rights is a large commitment, both in terms of money and time. As with any investment, you want to make sure that you obtain a good return. So make sure you do your homework and if you have any questions, let us know on 1300 544 755.

Vanja Simic

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