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There’s a lot of things we never think will happen in life. We never think we will be forced to change careers, we never think we would be out of a job, we never think that a family member could get sick… we never think we would get sick! And I never thought I’d need a lawyer. Until I did.
I’m not the only person who has thought like this. I was chatting with my gorgeous friend Tilly the other day about the legal bills I had just finished paying off and she said to me that she never thought she would need a lawyer either. It turns out a few years ago she was in a Jet Ski accident where she wasn’t at fault. She had major injuries and still suffers from back problems today. Not exactly the best thing for a photographer who needs to lug around some seriously heavy equipment.
The thing is, this isn’t one of those lessons they teach you in school. You don’t go to university to learn how to pick a good lawyer or how to apply to the courts to do anything. These are life lessons that come at you hard and fast and if you don’t have a second to think, could leave you wishing you had known a little more.
So I thought I’d share with you what we discussed about choosing a lawyer.
In late 2013 I found myself needing a lawyer. A divorce lawyer to be precise. But I had no idea what I was doing… all I knew is that I needed someone that would have my best interests and more importantly, my son’s best interests at heart.
I was lucky enough to find an amazing family lawyer. His confidence and calm presence made me feel at peace with everything. That’s what you want. You want to be able to speak with your lawyer and feel better for it – not more nervous.
I understand legal bills can get expensive, and they add up so quickly. But you want to make sure you have the best lawyer you can afford.
A lot of law firms, like Firths, offer a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This isn’t so for family law, but certainly for compensation lawyers, such as what my friend Tilly needed.
With Tilly’s Jet Ski accident, she had no idea at the time the magnitude of the situation. It turned out she had broken her spine in 3 places leading her to need surgery years later in order to help her with the immense pain she was in each and every day.
Tilly was in the same situation I was – she had no idea how to choose a compensation lawyer. She decided to go with one that offered a ‘no win, no fee’ basis as she felt this was the right path to take.
We both agreed that these are some of the main traits you want in any lawyer:
- You need your lawyer to be honest. There’s no point in telling you the grand possibilities when the probabilities don’t match. You want them to be as upfront and realistic as possible. It’s not a time to be anything but down to earth.
- You need your lawyer to be able to give you accurate timeframes. The legal process takes a lot of time – much longer than you can anticipate. You don’t want your lawyer to say something vague like ‘we will sort this out as soon as possible’. You need to know at the very least a general timeframe.
- You need your lawyer to be able to admit when they don’t know something. The law is very detailed and very complex, it is impossible to know everything and you shouldn’t have an expectation that they do – but you also want them to find out for you.
- You need your lawyer to be responsive. You want to be able to get in contact with them when you need to. It’s understandable that they are busy and have many cases going on at any given time, but if they say they will get back to you within the next two days then you want them to be able to do that.
So if you are ever in the situation where you find that you need a lawyer, take some time to do some research. Talk to law firms and ask questions. This is a major decision and the lawyer you choose can have an impact on the rest of your life.
This post was kindly sponsored by Firths. All opinions and experiences depicted in this post are genuine and from myself and my gorgeous friend Tilly.