Lesego Mothowamodimo
Lesego Mothowamodimo

You will probably need an attorney at some point in your life and when you do it is important to approach this decision knowing that the Attorney-client relationship while being a professional relationship, is a relationship, nonetheless. So, when choosing an attorney to enter into a professional relationship with it is prudent and advisable to consider the following factors amongst others.

Is the attorney you are considering skilled and experienced in the area of law for which you need assistance? Remember that some attorneys are general practitioners and others specialise and it is important to know what the assistance you require relates to in order to be able to identify the right attorney to assist you with it. For example, if the problem for which you require an attorney is one about a child, an attorney specialising in child Law would be best suited to help.

Is the Attorney competent in the area of the law for which you require assistance? And will you be able to receive effective Counsel? Was the attorney referred to you by someone you know and trust? Does the attorney come highly recommended? These questions must be answered together with the questions posed under item 1 above as they go hand in hand with each other.

Have you established how far the attorney’s offices are from you and from the court you will be issuing process out of? Will you need to travel long distances to consult with the attorney or will the attorney’s office travel a long distance to reach the court that your matter will be handled by? Are you aware that Attorneys are entitled to charge for travelling? Are you comfortable with paying for the distance travelled by your attorney to reach the court in which your matter is being handled in? Are there any measures in place that the attorney will use to bridge the distance between yourselves should they be too far from you and if so, will these measures come at a cost to you? Will your attorney need to engage the services of a correspondent attorney to bridge the distance between you? If that is the case, are you comfortable with paying both your attorney and the correspondent attorney?

Has the attorney provided you with a cost estimate notice for your matter? And based on the cost estimate notice received, can you afford to pay for the projected legal services to be rendered? Has the attorney provided you with sufficient disclosure of the Attorneys schedule of costs / fee schedule (‘price list’) and are you happy and comfortable that you can afford the legal services of the said attorney? Has the Attorney provided you with a cost estimate notice related to your matter in order to enable you to make an informed decision regarding the issue of whether you can or cannot afford the legal costs as estimated?

Are you and the attorney compatible? Do you feel that the attorney is someone who will work hard for you? Do you feel comfortable with him/her i.e., do you trust the attorney? Do you speak a common language with your attorney i.e., will you understand him/her, and will he/she understand you? Is the attorney thorough, reliable, competent, trustworthy? Does the attorney communicate with you regularly and keep you in the loop about your matter i.e., are you aware of what is going on in your matter? Is the attorney available to take on your case? Does the attorney explain things to you? Does the attorney answer your questions as they arise? The issue of your compatibility with an attorney, access to your attorney, communication with your attorney and availability of the attorney must be considered together as a unit as they are interlinked.

Do you know if the law firm you are instructing is small, medium, or big? What size of firm is best suited to help you with your matter? Does the firm have the resources to run your matter and are you similarly willing to pay for the said resources? Does the firm have capacity to handle your matter? Does the firm have manpower to run your matter? Are you satisfied with the team tasked to handle your matter?

This is not an exhaustive list of the factors you may consider in choosing an attorney however we believe the above to be the most important. All the best and choose wisely.