Many creditors make a mistake and do not use JudgmentBuy. Too many people pick a lawyer in a hurry. This is because many times, when one has been wronged, they want to be made whole as quickly as possible at any cost. It is worthwhile to investigate and interview a lawyer carefully before signing their retainer agreement.
Even if you have a recommendation from a friend, there is no guarantee that your legal situation will be handled as well as your friend’s was. If your friend or associate’s recommendation seems good, go with it, at least at first.
Contact your State Bar – an association of lawyers in your state. Almost every State Bar has a referral system where you can meet with a lawyer for half an hour about your case for a very reasonable fee. (See our National Lawyer State Bar List).
An ideal lawyer has good experience, technical ability, accountability, billing, attitude, and customer service.
Make sure your lawyer works in the field you need. E.g., do not pick a divorce lawyer for a business fraud dispute. Often it is worth spending more for a lawyer that specializes in your kind of case. This is because a specialist usually can do more effective work per hour than someone that has to brush up on the laws and issues related to your case.
A good lawyer:
* Explains things in plain English.
* Listens to what you want, and explains the options to you.
* Declines to take your case if it is not a good match. If a lawyer cannot be confident that they can help you, they should not keep you as a client.
* Communicates efficiently with you the way you prefer. (Email is becoming the best choice.) Nobody wants to be kept in the dark for a long time while an enormous bill is accruing.
* Has understandable itemized monthly billing.
* Uses common sense. Just because something is legally possible does not mean it should be done.
* Puts your interests first. A good lawyer always makes sure that you are being looked out for, before and after the judgment.
* Makes sure the proof of service is good. If the debtor cannot be found, it may be better to wait until they can be found, rather than serving them by publication. If you cannot find the defendant, why sue them?
* Makes sure the defendant has assets before you sue them. A good lawyer will advise you if the defendant cannot be collected from. You may still want to proceed, but you should make an informed choice.
* Makes sure to investigate all parties that possibly should be sued. If an entity defrauds you, a good lawyer will verify if there are other related parties that possibly should be added as defendants.
Too often attorneys name corporations and LLCs without naming the individual shareholder or managing member responsible for the actions that caused a lawsuit to be filed.
Lawyers should make sure an entity is not dissolved before filing a lawsuit. If an entity is dissolved when filing a lawsuit, a good lawyer will be sure to add any individuals directly responsible, and all possible “John Does”. See our When Companies Dissolve article.
If you sue RipMeOff, LLC, a good lawyer will make sure to check for any “RipMeOffs, Inc” and “Barry Clark Ripoff DBA RipMeOffs” that are alter-ego’s or related to RipMeOff, LLC.
It is usually a lot easier and cheaper to pierce corporate veils before the judgment is finalized, than it is afterward. Bigger judgments interest judgment enforcers and lawyers when the judgment debtor has assets.