If you’re going to find a lawyer to work with, and you’re looking to choose someone, you could want someone with a lot of experience. But really, you’re searching for skill level, not experience.
My word of warning is that just because someone’s been doing something for a long time, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good. That’s hard to assess though. They may be just doing the same thing the wrong way for a very long time. So just bear that in mind.
The other thing to assess is that you can actually find Accredited Specialists in your area. Now that means that they do have that extra level of knowledge, they have done extra study and extra exams to get that accreditation. Lawyers can be accredited in different areas: for example family law, commercial law, civil litigation, migration law, employment law. So there are all sorts of different categories that a solicitor can be accredited in.
One of the problems with looking at a lawyer’s website is that many, many lawyers will have a list (like a laundry list) of all the services that they can do. So it doesn’t give you much of an understanding of how well they can do that work, or their level of experience or expertise. Because expertise is probably what you’re looking for …
So how do you assess this?
Check the kind of information that the solicitor is publishing:
- papers they’ve written
- blogs on their site
- articles on their LinkedIn profile, or
- even video or podcasts.
Word of mouth recommendations from friends and family might work, but often not. BUT a referral from an accountant or financial planner that you already have in your life can be very valuable. Because if that professional has worked with the solicitor for, and they’re prepared to put their own relationship with you on the line to refer someone, that is a very valuable thing.
Another place to start is your local State law society or law institute. If you’re looking for an accredited specialist, they have a search function on their websites to specifically search for an accredited specialist.
Finally, see what contact details are available on their website and reach out to them, to see how they respond. If you don’t get anything back, it might be an indication of whether to work with them or not.
There are other places where lawyers are listed – legal databases:
So there’s a few places to start when assessing a lawyer’s skill level. Because you don’t just want to go off the list of services they put on their own website – while they say they can do it, they might not do it well or have much expertise.