Michael P. Opton David O. Black, Jr.
Real Estate Law Family Law Business Law Estate Planning

Does This Lawyer Suit Me?
By Michael Opton

Hiring a lawyer is difficult. It is unlike anything you may have done before.

If someone you trust refers you to a lawyer, that is a very good place to start. It means that the person has had a positive experience with the lawyer and has gained confidence in the lawyer’s ability to solve problems. That being said, even with a referral you still have to interview the lawyer yourself.

In the end, picking a lawyer is an emotional decision. You do not know the quality of the lawyer’s training or legal mind. You do not know whether the lawyer is responsible and responsive. You don’t know whether the lawyer answers telephone calls or sends you copies of the materials that are produced in your matter. But you do know how the lawyer makes you feel.

When you interview a lawyer, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the lawyer answering your questions?
  • Do the lawyer’s answers make sense?
  • If the lawyer does not know the answer to a question, is he or she evasive, or is the lawyer upfront in saying that they do not know the answer to your question?
  • Does the lawyer listen to your questions and your comments?
  • Does the lawyer seem interested and attentive?
  • Is the lawyer running through speeches or comments that don’t relate to your case? Is the lawyer talking about other cases he or she has tried that don’t seem particularly important to your case?

When you leave the lawyer’s office, you should feel that he or she will take care of you, that he or she knows what he or she is talking about, and that you feel better because you know much more than when you came into the lawyer’s office. If you don’t have those feelings after your interview with the lawyer, that lawyer is not the right for you.

Of course, even if you do have a positive impression after leaving the lawyer’s office, that lawyer still might not be right for you. So, pay attention to what the lawyer does, read the lawyer’s bills and his correspondence, call the lawyer with questions, and raise issues that you are thinking about. Your initial confidence will either be confirmed or undercut, and if you lose confidence, you should act immediately. Talk to the lawyer and explain your concerns. If you are not satisfied, change lawyers. All lawyers want happy, satisfied clients. If you don’t talk about your concerns, they cannot address them.

Attorney Michael Opton

Michael Opton

For over 44 years, Michael Opton has been counseling clients in a broad array of matters, including business transactions, real estate matters, family law issues, and estate matters. Over the course of his career, he has learned what people who are looking for legal services, should both look for, and avoid.

Copyright © Opton & Black
12909 SW 68th Parkway, Suite 160 • Portland, Oregon 97223 • Tel: 503.226.0368 • Fax: 503.273.8842