Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register
Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


How to Hire a Lawyer

How to Hire a Lawyer

By Michael Coyne
August 10, 2011

With lawyers charging from $200 to $400 an hour these days, a good place to begin your search for a lawyer might be to look into your own mirror.

Basically, there are five things to think about when you consider hiring an attorney. Most important of all, think clearly and calmly about the problem and what outcome you want.

First, consider, “Is it possible to solve this matter myself? The first place always to look for a “lawyer” is in your mirror, to see if you can handle the matter yourself. If the response is “No” and you need to go to law, be objective: Ask yourself, “What can an attorney bring to the table that I cannot?” “What am I willing to, and comfortable with, paying the attorney?”

On a cost-benefit basis you may be better off trying to resolve the matter on your own. Legal fees today typically are $200 to $400 an hour and a major case can run costs up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Second, “Who should I hire?” Talk to friends, relatives, and business associates to get their views. Ask them who they would recommend. Spread the need for names among people you trust. You wouldn't hire a divorce lawyer to handle a business case. Another method of searching is to contact your local Bar Association's referral service.

Third, investigate: Check the Web. Even a simple Google search could help you. Scour the Internet and read up about any lawyer you have under consideration. Do you get a good or bad feeling about the lawyer? Also, don't overlook the Web sites of any individuals or firms you are considering. See what they have to say about themselves. Look at the appearance of the Web site. Does it contain typos and misspellings?

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Fourth, When you have narrowed your search, meet face-to-face with the lawyers(plural) under consideration, and be sure to meet with more than one before you make your decision. These meetings should give you some idea of a lawyer's plan of action and the cost involved.

Fifth, decide if this lawyer is going to fight for what you want. By this time you should have a pretty good idea in mind of what you want in terms of an outcome. Make sure there is synergy between the lawyer about the results you want and the costs of getting those results.


Michael Coyne is the Associate Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover was founded in 1988 to provide a rigorous, affordable legal education to students who would otherwise be unable to attend law school and to get a law degree. It is widely regarded by legal scholars as an innovator in its field.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Top Scoops Headlines

Binoy Kampmark: Rot In The Australian Civil Service

There is no better example of Australia’s politicised public service than its Home Affairs Secretary, Mike Pezzullo. In most other countries, he would have been the ideal conspirator in a coup, a tittletattler in the ranks, and bound to brief against those he did not like. Give him a dagger, and he was bound to use it. More

Ramzy Baroud: The Palestinian Cause Belongs To The World

Once upon a time, the ‘Arab-Israeli Conflict’ was between Arabs & Israelis. Over the course of many years, however, it has been rebranded. The media is now telling us it is a ‘Hamas-Israeli Conflict.’ But what went wrong? Israel simply became too powerful. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.