Gary Bruce discusses what you should look for in a lawyer and what your rights are in dealing with an attorney. Gary also talks about getting a second opinion on a legal matter. When hiring an attorney, Gary suggests that you look for someone with experience and competency in the relevant practice area and with knowledge of the local area. Most importantly, you should only hire someone you are comfortable with handling your case.
Be wary of law firms that rely on an “investigator” to come to your home. This is usually a sign that you may have trouble communicating with your lawyer. Law firms that rely on such “help” sometimes have very little knowledge of the local medical options and specialists and sometimes know nothing about the local court system which can harm your case. Much like you would with a doctor or a preacher, you should meet your lawyer in person and get a feel for whether or not the two of you can carry on a productive working relationship.
Your relationship with your lawyer is a contractual one, so you need to know what the expectations are on both sides of the relationship. Your rights in an attorney-client relationship depend largely on the contract you enter into with your attorney. If you feel like the contract is not being upheld or you want to terminate the relationship for any reason, you have the right to terminate the lawyer. Much like making medical decisions with a doctor, you should confirm that the legal decisions you are making are what is best for you, and to do so, you might want to get a second opinion if you have questions that are not answered. If you would like a second opinion on a legal matter arising in Georgia or Alabama, we welcome your call for a free review of your case.
News Reporter: Now, answering your questions about the law and legal issues, this is Legal Break with attorney Gary Bruce.
Maureen: I’m Maureen Akers here with Gary. Gary thanks so much for joining us today.
Gary: Good to be here again.
Maureen: Well we are talking about when to hire an attorney, and the qualities in an attorney, possibly seeking a second opinion, but the first question is: what should you look for when searching for a lawyer?
Gary: Wow, well I think you want to find someone who has experience and competence in the area that you’re looking to do. So you wouldn’t hire me to do a will necessarily. You know, find somebody who’s in that area and specializes, maybe not specializes, but has a lot of experience in that area. And then look for somebody you’re comfortable with, you know, you ought to meet the lawyer, you ought to know what you’re getting involved in – it’s a contractual relationship. You’re not getting married, although that may be a contractual relationship, you know it’s supposed to be. You should know what the relationships going to be, what’s expected of you, what’s expected of the lawyer, what your goals are, and what you hope to achieve. So, that needs to take place really with the lawyer, and a personal meeting, I feel like. So, I don’t know feel comfortable, trust your gut.
Maureen: Absolutely, so what are your rights when dealing with an attorney? Should you feel like you might need a second opinion, how does that work?
Gary: Well your rights will be defined really by the contractual terms we talked about. But you know, it needs to work. I tell people all the time, if there’s something I’m not doing right call me, let’s sit down, talk about it, and that should be the relationship I think, you should be comfortable within it. If you don’t have that kind of relationship, if you don’t get responsiveness, if you don’t have the opportunity to be informed, you feel like things are dragging, and they do sometimes just in the natural course of the law right that’s just the way it is, but if you feel like you need to talk to them, they ought to be there available to you. At that point, you are entitled to a second opinion, and the law has changed really in recent years in this regard. You didn’t used to have that option without firing the lawyer, and the lawyer would say, “well I can’t get involved because you already got another lawyer.” But now, I think the law said, “look – you know you’re entitled, you should be able to have a second opinion.” Normally, we send people back say, “look set up a meeting.” Talk to them, work it out, they’ve already got all this invested time, make sure it’s the right thing to do to switch horses midstream, but sometimes it really is- really the right thing to do. Get a second opinion if you feel like you need it.
Maureen: If you feel like you need it right? Then going back on your first search for an attorney: make sure it’s somebody you feel like you can trust, and you can have that personal meeting with, and establish that relationship?
Gary: I hope so. Like you would your doctor or your minister it’s somebody you connect with.
Maureen: Yeah, very good. Thank you. Gary Bruce Law. Thank you so much for joining us today, Gary, and we look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break.
Read our most frequently asked questions when hiring a lawyer, and learn your rights.