Ask lawyers about their fees list. The charges can vary widely depending on the lawyer's experience and skill; therefore, it is best to understand the fees prior to signing any agreement. Nothing is worse than when you lose representation while proceedings are underway.
You may want a retainer through a lawyer so you are ready for whatever may happen. This gives you the time you need to prepare. Keeping an attorney on retainer helps give you a resource for legal advice.
Keep a paper trail. Document all conversations and meetings with your lawyer. Take note of all questions asked, as well as their answers and record all arrangements and discussions of fees and charges. Lawyers are only human and make mistakes. Give yourself a layer of protection with excessive record keeping.
Look for people who have experienced similar problems and ask them which lawyers they used. Your friends and relatives might be helpful but do not follow their suggestions unless you need a lawyer for the same kind of issues. Use the different resources available in your community, such as support groups.
If you need to hire a lawyer but don't know where to start, try looking in a lawyer directory such as Nolo. This directory offers a comprehensive profile of all attorneys. The profile provides important information such as his education, experience, fees and the lawyer's basic philosophy of law. This information can be invaluable in selecting a good lawyer.
Once you have decided to hire a particular lawyer, make sure you receive a written retainer letter that specifically defines the scope of representation, the details of the services you are to receive and the applicable fee structure. By doing this, you will stand a much better chance of getting precisely what you bargained for and you will have useful documentation of the intended relationship should you need to pursue the lawyer in a malpractice action at some point.
The legal system is complicated and overwhelming; don't try DIY style or you risk losing before you even get started. Use the advice above and hire reliable representation for your ordeal. The lawyer you choose can mean the difference between resolution of your issue or a prolonged and dreadful experience.