What to Look for When Hiring an Attorney

Most people looking for an attorney have never hired one before. Many of us wind up looking online, in a phone book, or on social media, but the criteria to judge one attorney from another is hard to come by when you don't know what you're looking for. We might ask other people which attorney they recommend, but we all know that every case is different, so doubts are inevitable. This article will help highlight some important criteria that you can use when looking to hire an attorney, criteria that is independent of a personal referral from someone.

There are any number of criteria a person could use when looking for an attorney, and no one piece of information about an attorney is likely to be the piece of information that helps a person make up his or her mind. Because of this, each of the criteria that follows is equally important when looking for an attorney, and they are presented in no particular order due to their equal importance.


One of the most important criteria anyone could use when deciding on which attorney to hire is the attorney's experience. There are plenty of attorneys who might say they handle a particular kind of case, but you have to ask whether they really do or not. For example, there are plenty of attorneys who really only handle civil cases, but claim to handle criminal cases as well. In reality, these attorneys only handle minor traffic cases. If someone was to hire such an attorney for a more important case, one for which jail or prison was possible, for instance, then that person might very well regret that decision later. You don't hire a plumber to fix your AC. Johnson Law Group has been around more than 20 years, and our attorneys have more than 100 years in combined experience. We handle nearly exclusively criminal cases. We do handle certain civil cases, but these are largely cases tied to criminal cases, such as Orders of Protection or No Stalking Orders. We have offices all over central Illinois for a reason: we handle the big cases. We are unafraid—and, in fact, welcome—the hard cases, and I think we get better results than anyone else.


Another criteria to consider when deciding which attorney to hire is the knowledge of that attorney. Knowledge largely comes from the attorney's experience, both in terms of the cases that attorney has handled and the counties in which he or she has practiced. It's easy for an attorney who works alone to miss certain things. Because we work together, we combine our experience to make sure nothing gets missed. Knowledge also comes from keeping on top of all of the new laws and appellate court rulings that come out, and my firm has put in place a system to make sure that all of the attorneys don't miss anything. As a result, we're always at the front of the law, instead of learning about its changes after someone hires us to represent them.


Having knowledge is great, but it means nothing if you cannot relay that information to other people in a clear and concise way. I have to admit that most attorneys are, unfortunately, not the best at explaining things to people. Like most people in a specific profession, we have a tendency to use our own language that only those in the profession can understand. To make matters even worse, the law, what options a person has, and so on, can be very, very complex, not to mention heavily nuanced, making explaining it to people unfamiliar with the complexities even harder. My partners and I pride ourselves on being able to relay even the most complex information to anyone, regardless of his or her background. Giving our clients more information, not less, is a point of pride here, and, unlike others, we're happy to do so, even when it may be time-consuming. The reason is simple: knowledge is power, and a person cannot be empowered without that knowledge being relayed. That's what we do for our clients every day.


Cost will always be a consideration for anyone looking to hire an attorney. There are any number of myths about attorney fees, and people frequently assume they cannot afford an attorney without ever even asking. At Johnson Law Groups, our fees for the vast majority of our cases are flat. We have heard the horror stories about people being charged left and right for all kinds of things, getting one bill after the other, and we hear about the frustration this causes them. Because of this, we pride ourselves about being up front with people concerning what their case will cost, because no one should be in the dark when it comes to getting the best team of attorneys behind them.


Finally, anyone looking to hire an attorney will want the attention he or she deserves. Attention comes in two kinds. The first is getting answers when you have questions, and the second is making sure that your case is being worked. Most attorneys have receptionists, who simply take messages when a client has a question, and, after leaving a message, the client waits too long for a response. Our staff was specially selected and trained to be more than your average staff, and, because of this, they are always available to clients to answer any questions they can answer. Even more, our attorneys regularly schedule telephone and in-person visits with clients while working on cases, so that our clients are completely informed at every step of the way. We go one step further as well, and make ourselves available 24 hours a day if people have questions. Attention is what you deserve, and attention is what you'll get with Johnson Law Group.

This article hopefully explained some criteria to consider when looking for an attorney, so that a reader can better decide who is the best attorney to speak with and hire.

Copyright © 2017 by Brendan Bukalski

The information provided in this column is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice or interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. As a general rule, all specific legal problems should be handled by an individual's attorney. All rights reserved. Any copying, duplication, or commercial use of the information contained in this column is strictly prohibited without prior permission.