Allow me to begin by saying that do-it-yourself lawyering has its limits. Surely, you can draft contracts on your own, you can survive gruesome negotiations with your business clients, you can settle a marital dispute among yourselves but when the need to come to court arises, you need to get a lawyer. Hire a lawyer and hire a good one.
When finding a lawyer therefore, look for a “qualified” lawyer. Meaning, be sure that your lawyer has successfully completed his law course, has successfully passed the bar examinations and is licensed to practice in the very jurisdiction where a particular legal relief is asked for. When facing a legal dispute, the last thing you need is a bogus lawyer.
Having a “professional” lawyer is so much different from a having a lawyer who managed to “appear” professional. A lawyer would normally give you the “lawyer look”– wears a suit, clean-cut, drives a black luxury car, and brings a suit case. It would be great if your lawyer can pull it off with the lawyer look and the genuine professionalism.
You now have a qualified, expert and credible lawyer having the personal qualities you look for. More often than not, your lawyer will say that he is willing, able and happy to assist you. If your chosen lawyer has a law firm, there will certainly be other lawyers who can attend to you in case he is not available.
It can be destroyed by the lawyer himself, as when he gives a legal advice and overturns his own legal opinion without cushioning the effects. To be sure, no lawyer can ever get clients if he is not believable and trustworthy.
The personal qualities to look for in a lawyer depend greatly on the kind of client you are. If you are the no-nonsense type, you may prefer to hire an older, retirable lawyer. These types of lawyer are less interested in what you have to say.
This is one aspect of lawyering where a young, inexperienced lawyer can actually get ahead of an experienced one. Young lawyers are usually vibrant, supportive and sympathetic. Clients tend to feel that they are getting their money’s worth with the kind of attention they are getting.
Thus, you may hear of a litigation lawyer or an immigration lawyer. Note however, that lawyers’ specializations are “acquired” through experience, not simply because they think they are great at it.