Large firms also have advantages, after all, many judges and opposing attorneys respect and/or fear large reputable firms for the cases they’ve won, and their ability to influence judgments. Large firms also typically have greater resources in terms of money and manpower to research your case and to craft strategy.
In short, weigh the pros and cons of having a small or a large firm to try your case before signing a contract.
Where to Look for a Lawyer
In addition to the phone book and/or a friend that might recommend a lawyer, there are several other sources for finding a qualified attorney to represent you. Some unions offer representation as does the AARP (sometimes at a discount to its members). In addition, members of the military are often entitled to certain representation, as are certain individuals covered by umbrella and home insurance policies. Finally, the American Bar Association can also help you find a suitable attorney that is licensed in your state.
The Bottom Line
Selecting the right attorney can make your case while selecting the wrong one can doom it, so do your homework.
Does the Attorney Belong to Any Professional Organizations: Membership in an organization such as WealthCounsel indicates that the attorney you are meeting with is committed to staying up on the latest and greatest estate planning developments. These organizations provide extensive education and networking with peers for their members. Just like you would want to make sure that your doctor is staying up to date on the latest medical advancements if he or she was going to operate on you, you will want to make sure your estate planning attorney is likewise current on the most recent law and planning techniques to protect you and your family.
Ask each attorney questions about their practice. You want to make sure you select an estate planning attorney who not only has the appropriate amount of experience and expertise, but also is competent to work with you and handle your estate well into the future.
How much expertise you need depends on your particular situation. If you have a fairly simple estate, you may be able to save money by hiring someone who only has a few years of experience.
However, if you have a complex estate, for example you own multiple investment accounts or have real estate in several states or overseas, you not only need an attorney with more experience, but with specific experience handling estates similar to yours.
You also want to find out how much of the attorney’s practice consists of estate planning and how much is devoted to other work. While an attorney may excel in a number of different practice areas, your best estate planners typically work in that realm exclusively.
Ask the attorney how much of the work on your case he’ll be doing himself and how much will be delegated to beginning attorneys or other staff. If you have a simple estate, you can save some preparation costs if the bulk of the work is done by a paralegal or an inexperienced attorney under the supervision of someone more experienced. However, if you have complex property matters you want to make sure the person handling them has the necessary expertise.
Looking for a Sacramento estate planning attorney ? The Law Offices of Brian D. Russ is a full-service law firm serving clients throughout the Sacramento region in estate planning and general litigation support. Brian earned a Master’s of Public Policy from the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University Monterey Bay (go Otters!), a Bachelor of Arts from UC Davis (go Aggies!), and an Associate of Arts from Las Positas Community College (go Hawks!).
Brian has many published works, including:
Lobbyists Are People Too, and They Should Be Free to Contribute to Their Local Legislative Races
AB 1301: An Attempt to Eliminate Persistent Voter Discrimination
All Wrapped Up and Nowhere to Gogo: Wrap Contracts Meet the Wrapture
A Case for Indexing the Minimum Wage in California: An Analysis of Indexed Minimum Wage Policies in Santa Fe, NM and San Francisco, CA
The California State Assembly: Where the People Don’t Matter – On the Campaign Financing of Assembly Candidates and the Puzzling Lack of Public Outcry. Call or text me today to discuss your situation: (916) 750-5155. Or send me an email at email@example.com.