Large firms also have advantages, after all, many judges and opposing attorneys respect and/or fear large reputable firms for the cases they’ve won, and their ability to influence judgments. Large firms also typically have greater resources in terms of money and manpower to research your case and to craft strategy.
In short, weigh the pros and cons of having a small or a large firm to try your case before signing a contract.
Where to Look for a Lawyer
In addition to the phone book and/or a friend that might recommend a lawyer, there are several other sources for finding a qualified attorney to represent you. Some unions offer representation as does the AARP (sometimes at a discount to its members). In addition, members of the military are often entitled to certain representation, as are certain individuals covered by umbrella and home insurance policies. Finally, the American Bar Association can also help you find a suitable attorney that is licensed in your state.
The Bottom Line
Selecting the right attorney can make your case while selecting the wrong one can doom it, so do your homework.
Does the Attorney Carry Malpractice Insurance? Does the attorney hold a legal malpractice insurance policy? This is a sign of accountability. Anyone can make a mistake and you should not make the mistake of hiring an attorney who does not have malpractice insurance. Remember, in many states, an attorney is not required to carry malpractice insurance. Dont get burned by an attorney who does not think enough about his or her clients to carry malpractice insurance. Also note that attorneys that are incorporated (often signified by the letters P.C. or A.P.C. after their firm name) must maintain malpractice insurance in the state of California as mandated by the California State Bar Association. Ask What Law School the Attorney Attended : Just like any other school, law schools that are harder to get into have higher standards and only accept the best students. There are four (4) tiers in the law school ranking system with the first tier being at the top and hardest to get into. Ask the attorney where he or she went to law school.
Ask each attorney questions about their practice. You want to make sure you select an estate planning attorney who not only has the appropriate amount of experience and expertise, but also is competent to work with you and handle your estate well into the future.
How much expertise you need depends on your particular situation. If you have a fairly simple estate, you may be able to save money by hiring someone who only has a few years of experience.
However, if you have a complex estate, for example you own multiple investment accounts or have real estate in several states or overseas, you not only need an attorney with more experience, but with specific experience handling estates similar to yours.
You also want to find out how much of the attorney’s practice consists of estate planning and how much is devoted to other work. While an attorney may excel in a number of different practice areas, your best estate planners typically work in that realm exclusively.
Ask the attorney how much of the work on your case he’ll be doing himself and how much will be delegated to beginning attorneys or other staff. If you have a simple estate, you can save some preparation costs if the bulk of the work is done by a paralegal or an inexperienced attorney under the supervision of someone more experienced. However, if you have complex property matters you want to make sure the person handling them has the necessary expertise.
Looking for a Estate planning attorney in Sacramento area ? The Law Offices of Brian D. Russ is a full-service law firm serving clients throughout the Sacramento region in estate planning and general litigation support. Brian earned his Juris Doctorate from the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. Brian passed the California bar on his first attempt and is licensed to practice law in California (Bar #318281).. Call or text me today to discuss your situation: (916) 750-5155. Or send me an email at email@example.com.