It is easy to make price the most important factor when choosing a lawyer to work with. Typically people believe that the most expensive lawyers are the best. And along the same line of thinking, they assume the cheapest lawyers are the worst. This is a misconception that causes people to make the wrong choice when selecting the lawyer or firm to work with. Price is an important factor to consider, however it is by no means the only one.
Keep in mind, not all lawyers are created equal. There are lawyers who are highly skilled and experienced, who typically get the best outcomes for their clients. There are others who may not have as much knowledge and their outcomes tend to be more mediocre.
It’s worth noting that lawyers have different areas of expertise and experience. They may specialize in specific types of cases or industries. If you are solely using price as the qualifier in your search, you may miss out on finding the lawyer with the best skills. Be thorough in your research. Look for the expertise and skillset you need.
Other factors you want to consider when looking for the best lawyer to suit your needs:
- their experience
- their success rate
- their reputation with customers (look at reviews)
- their reputation in the legal community
- their communication skills
- the size of the firm – are they big enough to handle what you need done, in the timeframe you need it?
Looking at fees is important, so you stay within your budget. Once you have factored those components in, you can review their fees. Approaching your search in this way, will give you a more well rounded list of candidates for you to choose from.
Here are some other reasons why only considering fees may be problematic:
In a scenario where you choose the cheapest lawyer, they may not have the experience or skillset needed to handle your legal work. They may not be able to navigate the complexities. This could end up costing you more in the long run, if you end up needing to bring in a more experienced lawyer.
Conversely, the most expensive lawyers may not be the best option either. Typically, the most successful and experienced lawyers charge higher fees, however that isn’t always true. Some lawyers charge more because of their reputation or the prestige of their law firm, and they may not be offering any additional value or expertise. In this scenario, you are wasting budget.
Smaller law firms may not have the time to get your legal work done as soon as possible. Larger firms may have the time to get the work done, but they may not focus on communicating with you.
You need to weigh the different variables and determine which lawyer offers most of what you need and charges a fee that works within your budget.
Keep in mind, if you choose to ask a friend or colleague for a referral, they will be weighting the value and quality of the lawyer’s work within the lens of their priorities. A lawyer that knocks it out of the ballpark for one company, may disappoint another. Try asking someone who has similar projects in terms of scope and expertise needed. Ask your friend about pricing too – we said pricing isn’t everything, but it does factor in.