Getting into legal trouble is scary, no matter who’s at fault. The law is long and complex, filled with loopholes and clauses that could make the most intelligent person scratch their head in confusion.

To make matters worse, there are always high stakes involved. From restitution to deportation, penalties to prison time, the consequences resulting from a lost court case are long and varied. Beyond that, though, is the taxing toll of stress and time demanding by legal proceedings.

Your best bet is to hire a professional who can help you navigate the entire process and, hopefully, achieve the best possible outcome. Although lawyer fees can be pretty expensive, their guidance and consultation will be well worth the investment if it can save you thousands of dollars, prove your innocence, or keep your family together.

However, it’s critical that you take the selection process very seriously when selecting who to hire. There are several key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind in order to find the right person who can represent and fulfil your needs. Here’s how to pick a lawyer so you can effectively protect your legal rights.

Step #1: Search for the Correct Form of Practice

The U.S. legal code contains many different subdivisions and you’ll need to choose a lawyer whose practice is dedicated to the relevant field of law. Here are several common examples:

• Criminal lawyer

Personal injury lawyer

• Immigration lawyer

• Employment lawyer

• Corporate lawyer

• Intellectual property lawyer

• Bankruptcy lawyer

• Estate planning lawyer

This list only scratches the surface of various types of law practices, and they continue to branch out beneath each umbrella term. For example, if you’re dealing with a case that pertains to family law, you hire someone with experience in the specific matter at hand, such as a:

• Child custody and paternity lawyer

• Divorce lawyer

• Marriage and civil union lawyer

• Adoption lawyer

• Guardianship lawyer

It may take some time to research which field of law applies to your circumstances, but you need to rest assured that whoever represents you knows the applicable legal code like the back of their hand if you want the best shot at winning your case.

Step #2: Identify Where They Practice

Once you know which type of lawyer you need, the next step is to do a quick internet search for services in your area. Many law firms have offices nationwide, while others work with clients in a certain location. Depending on the case, you may be able to get by with long-distance representation and conduct your meetings over phone or video calls. But in most cases, it can be reassuring to know that your legal counsel is near by should you ever need them to represent you in a quick bind.

This is especially true throughout county criminal investigations and immigration lawsuits. When a language barrier is present, there’s a chance that a defendant may not fully understand what they are being charged with and they might inadvertently plead guilty to a crime they did not commit. Therefore, you should refine your search using terms that can match you with a better fit. For example, a Spanish-speaking person living in metropolitan Illinois might seek out Spanish-speaking lawyers to find a nearby lawyer who can translate the legal proceedings.

Step #3: Evaluate Prices and Professionalism

After narrowing down the pool of potential hires, the last step is to compare each lawyer’s offerings. Naturally, the first thing most people look at is how much they charge by hourly rate. Some want the best representation money can buy, while others prioritize budgetary concerns.

No matter which side of the coin you fall on, remember to evaluate services beyond just a price comparison. You could use search terms like “top-rated divorce attorney in Los Angeles”, but the better method is to field each person with questions that can help you determine whether they’re capable of delivering the counsel you deserve. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:

• Do they communicate promptly?

• Are they punctual to the consultation meeting?

• Can they work efficiently and economically?

• Will they work tirelessly in your best interest?

Court can be costly, but peace of mind is priceless. Use these tips to alleviate your anxiety and find the right lawyer who can provide the consultation and representation you need to get back on with your life.