The Law Offices of Christine G. DeBernardis

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Where Experience, Integrity and Compassion Matter

What qualities do I look for when hiring an attorney?

Choosing an attorney is not a simple process. Do your best to make a good decision at the outset of your case and you will win in the long run with a respected advocate on your side and confidence in every decision that you make along the way.

Generally speaking, you should look for an attorney that has experience in the practice area in which you seek counsel. If you have a divorce matter, you want someone that has experience in that field of law. If you have a criminal matter, find an attorney that practices criminal law. Certainly, attorneys can practice in more than one area of law, which can also be beneficial if you have several cases of different areas of practice (for example, a domestic assault and battery charge at the same time as a pending divorce). Don’t shy away from a particular choice because that person practices in several fields.

You also want an attorney that has practiced in the Court in which you will be. You want someone that knows the Court, the Judges, the staff and the other attorneys. It proves for a much easier process if your attorney can tell you “what this Judge is likely to do” or “what he has seen happen before in this Court.” It also helps for an attorney to be able to tell you how the process will work in a given scenario (for example, where to go the morning of court and what you can expect to see during the day’s events).

The most important factor, at least in my opinion, is to choose an attorney in which you believe. If you meet with the attorney and you do not get a sense of knowledge or trustworthiness in that person, s/he is not the right choice for you. And that’s okay. Speak to another attorney to see if you have more or less faith in that second person.

There is a difference between liking someone’s personality and believing in them as your attorney. You don’t have to like them. You do have to believe in them. Remember that this person is going to be involved in the intimate details of your life, will be advising you as to every important decision and is next to you every step of the process. If you do not believe in him/her, and you cannot have faith in the advice given, then every step of your case will be more difficult than it has to be.

To sum it up, you want a lawyer that you can believe in with the knowhow of the topic area and a relationship with the players to best advise you on your case. It’s not an easy task, but if you choose carefully, you will experience a much easier, less stressful case in the long run.

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