5 Points to live by when hiring an attorney

Finding the appropriate lawyer for your case can be a difficult process. I remember the first time I needed an attorney, I think I did what most people do. I searched online for attorneys for the field I needed representation in and pretty much selected the first person I came across who looked legit (whatever that means).

For me personally, this was a big mistake. I was not adequately represented and I ended up hiring a second lawyer to replace the first. It cost me thousands extra to do so, but it ended up saving me over a hundred thousand in the long run.

It was at that moment that I realized that when it comes to attorneys all things are not created equal, and assuming that you will have decent representation is not a given.

So what did I learn that might help you?  I have composed 5 points to consider when it comes to hiring appropriate legal counsel.

  1. It’s not a level playing field. You must tell yourself this over and over during your search. It’s important to really accept it. When it comes to an auto mechanic, pressure washing service or even home builder, we all have a gut level understanding that not all professionals carry the same credentials, quality and customer service, but I believe it gets tricky when we get into the professional realm such as legal or medicine.  After all, professionals such as lawyers and doctors should all be pretty well trained, right? WRONG…I get it. We have a lot riding on things when our financial lives are at stake, but go in eyes wide open. The cross our fingers and hope for the best attitude will get ya hurt.
  2. Raving Reviews? Search the bar (any complaints?), read reviews and do appropriate due diligence. Discipline yourself.  What I found was that there are tons of factors that influence whether a professional is premium.  Remember that reviews can also be faked, so look everywhere and make sure they match up. Typically attorneys will refrain from blatantly advertising false information. You can see an example of an appropriate testimonials page on this site for a reference (notice the client confidentiality):
  3. Check yourself before you wreck yourself applies when hiring an attorney. Don’t rely on your emotions to tell you what to do. This is tough time and trusting your emotions may not be the best idea. I remember (going with my gut) instead of logic. Trusting over verifying will only get you broke in this ballgame.
  4. Fees aren’t your friend. Let me just use my example since that’s the one I know. Both attorneys I hired were damn expensive. I made an uneducated mistake believing that just because it cost a lot, it must be quality.One of the key differences I noticed up front was that the first attorney asked me lots of questions about what I did, what type of assets I had and wasn’t specifically interested in the details of the case.If your consultation goes into a shake down, let’s see how much ya got mode, beware.Also, if after the financial shake down, the attorney seems to pull a number out of the air. Also beware. They should have a set fee schedule not just a random number.Ask for their fee schedule (hourly rate).
  5. Documentation over discussion: You should also get a contract that covers (mostly) all of the aspects of your relationship such as how much paralegal support costs, or associate attorneys, etc. When I found my second attorney, I realized it was all very structured straight forward and transparent. If you don’t get that sense when dealing with an attorney, you may just want to look twice before you leap.

I hope this guide is a help to you should you ever find yourself in a situation needing an attorney. Remember there is wisdom in the counsel of many. Ask the people around you that know and love you what they think and don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if something doesn’t sit well with you. I did and it made a huge difference in my life. Good luck! -Joanie.


I’m thinking some more about this subject of perseverance.

I don’t want to paint our whole culture and society with one brush and say that we all suck at persevering.

I would say that some of us suck at it. I would say that most of us struggle with it to some extent or another.

We’ve all been told countless times that we live in an age of instant gratification. We just don’t want to work for what we’re getting.

That’s not all true. It’s less about the work than it is about wanting to be satisfied quickly. We want what we want instantly. Whether it’s information or entertainment or food, we want it and we want it now.

There are segments of our population that understand that hard work and perseverance go into attaining certain things that we want.

Most people who start out in doctoral programs know that it’s going to take years before they have their Ph.D.

The people who start out on the road to becoming a surgeon know that it’s going to take years before they are able to practice.

Most people who start a business know that success is not going to come overnight.

Most parents know that raising a child is a long-term process and the kid isn’t going to be mature instantly.

So there are a lot of arenas where perseverance is anticipated and expected and practiced. You can’t go through a drive-through to pick up a Ph.D.

But still often in the small things, the everyday things, even the surgeon-in-training gets frustrated and lacks perseverance. Even the parent who knows that the kid is gonna take 18 years to mature gets frustrated when the Internet goes down.

We tend to lack perseverance in life stuff. Or maybe the better word there is patience. We often lack patience.

I think in the area of personal growth sometimes we lack perseverance.

We want to see healing and change much more quickly than it wants to happen. We have to persevere day by day in doing the right thing and making the right choices and adopting the right beliefs so that good changes come about. We have to persevere in that.

Too many of us—me included—look at a relationship that has gone bad and think, If we have a couple of sessions of counseling, we’ll be back on track.

Trouble is, if we’ve been in that relationship for ten, twenty, thirty years, problems that have developed over the course of that time sure aren’t going to go away in a couple of one-hour sessions with a therapist.

Nope. Honestly, it could take a year or two of regular sessions to undo stuff we’ve done and re-do things right. Ninety-five percent of the population isn’t going to go for that. Factor in the cost, the time, the hassle of coordinating schedules, the impact of sessions on regular life, and the actual gut-wrenching (sometimes) work that has to happen privately between sessions, and it’s no wonder that long-term therapy gets shot down.

Persevering in that context takes super-commitment and intention!

Even in working on individual stuff, you have to have perseverance. Keeping up the motivation and focus can just be tough.

The rewards of perseverance are worth it, though.

More on that another time. I gotta run to my therapy session

Perseverance. It’s a long word that basically just means sticking with something.

The theme of skating and scootering is, I think, about the concept of perseverance.

Actually this is a concept that extends across all sports and even across all activities that require learning and practice.

I watch my son as he practices skating tricks over and over. Even when he hurts himself he keeps on practicing. He waits for a little while and then goes at it again.

We can be at the park for two and three and sometimes four hours as he practices tricks over and over. He doesn’t get bored. He doesn’t tire of doing the same thing over and over. He doesn’t give up when he keeps falling.

Sure, he gets frustrated. I’ve seen him throw his skateboard or scooter across the grass when he’s not making the progress he wants to make. But then he’ll go pick it up, sit down for a few minutes, take a drink, then stand up and start working on the trick again.

This is perseverance.  He is persevering and practicing in order to perfect the tricks.

This same kid is basically flunking algebra. He had midterms this week in algebra and I doubt if he studied once. I tried to facilitate that, but without much success.

He just hates algebra and he doesn’t get it and he doesn’t want to work hard to learn how to do it.

Contrast that with the skating that he loves. He will work hard to learn how to master a trick and he will do it over and over again and he will bear the pain of the falls that come with the practicing.

I guess that’s the way it is with all of the things that we hate to do. Unless they are of high priority to us, we will not show perseverance in trying to conquer them.

Things that we really want to learn, or things that we do as high-value or high-priority, we will invest in. We will invest our time and energy and focus. We will persevere and learn that skill or conquer that task. There is an end result. It’s worth it.

I keep thinking about my son and the algebra. There is a reward that should make it worth persevering to learn the concepts.

The reward is not having to retake the course. If my son fails algebra, he will have to take it in summer school next year. Or he will have to retake it next year.

Another reward is being able to stay at the school he attends. If he wants to stay at the school that he’s going to, he will have to either pass algebra this year or take it as a summer course next year and pass it then.

This particular school that he attends has minimum grade requirements . He cannot fail any course and stay at the school. For his sake I wish he was able to demonstrate perseverance and conquer algebra.

I know that the difference is that he loves skating and he hates algebra. Demonstrating perseverance is easier when you’re doing something you love. I just wish he could carry over his ability to persevere in skating to his algebra.

I’m watching my son work on a scooter trick. He’s doing it over and over and he keeps falling. He already has an injured knee from other tricks that he has tried to do and fallen from.

I can tell that this trick is really hard on his knee. Proscootering is pretty cool in my eyes.

It’s a very difficult trick and involves whipping the scooter in a circle overhead through the air. At the same time the bars are also turning. This all happens in the middle of a swoop up off the edge of a ramp.

I can’t really describe well what the trick is. There’s a certain name for it. He’s told me the name about 15 times and I can never remember it because it sounds like the names of all the other tricks.

Still this one is probably the hardest trick he’s ever tried. He’s nailed it a few times. When he’s nailed it, he’s had an audience and it has been very impressive.

The last time he nailed the trick, there was a group of six or seven young men standing around the baseball diamond just near the skate park. When my son landed the flip, I heard this roar coming from the group of young men.

They were all looking at him and making noise about the trick and the successful landing.  

After that trip was when he did another trick, landed hard on the bars and broke one off. That was 2 1/2 months ago and it has taken this long to get the bars replaced.

So here we are back at the skate park and he’s trying the same trick again . He keeps falling and it looks terrible. He gets up and he is limping and I know that his knee is causing him problems.

I bought a brace for him and I wish he would wear it when he is practicing.

Speaking of safety apparel, I also wish he would wear a helmet.

He has assured me that he will wear a helmet if he ever tries dangerous tricks like backflips. It’s not really a great comfort because on any of these tricks, when he falls off, he could very easily go backwards and crack his head on the concrete.

It helps me–when I’m at the skate park watching him do these tricks—to think about my project at home with my kitchen  

I like to think about how it’s going to look when it’s done. I’m excited about getting all of the tile removed.

The dust-free tile-removal company did a great job. And just like their advertisement promised, they were able to remove all of my tile throughout the kitchen without a grain of stray dust . Well that’s probably a slight exaggeration, but really, there was no dust at the end of the job.

So that’s all done and I’m ready for my new flooring, I’m very excited about what the hardwood is going to look like.

At the skate park where I bring my son, it’s pretty cool . It’s almost always busy.

We usually come at night because my son is in school until about 5 o’clock. Sometimes we will eat before we come out and sometimes not  

There are always kids here, as I’ve mentioned before. What I like about this skate park is that you don’t seem to see drugs .

We used to go to another skate park and there there’s a lot of drugs there, and older kids, and even some adults. So that made me pretty uncomfortable to have my son around people like that and with such easy access to drugs.

This skate park seems clean, for the most part . The kids seem to encourage each other. They can tell when somebody is doing a trick or is practicing a trick over and over to get it right.

When a kid nails trick then most of the other kids at the skate park usually make some noise or clap or something.

So overall it seems like it’s a great place for a kid to be. I bring my son here several days a week usually. It’s not the thing that I most want to do, but when he’s here it means that he’s not at home parked in front of the TV on his video games.

It’s great to see so many kids being really active.

Being here also helps me escape from my kitchen project. I’m excited about the project but I get tired of the process sometimes.

I’m redoing my kitchen floor. I have hired a company to come in and do tile removal . I want to get rid of the tile throughout the kitchen and the main part of the house and replace it with hardwood.

I heard about this particular company because they remove tile without creating dust . Or maybe they create dust but they eliminate it immediately.

Their claim Is dust-free tile removal. I’ve seen their work at other people’s houses. They seem to really do an outstanding job.

So they’re going to be removing all of the tile from my house and removing the dust at the same time. They do it with industrial-grade vacuum cleaners. I think the vacuums are going to be perpetually sucking up the dust as the equipment is running that removes the tile .

I did ask them for some references before I hired them . They gave me a couple and I did actually call those people. Those customers were very gracious and even invited me to come over and look at their finished flooring.

So I have done that and also talked with them about the tile removal dust-free process.

They have all been very generous with their information. And they all are very happy with this company.

So that’s how I made my decision to go with this company. I believe they are tile-removal professionals who will do a good job on my project.