I became a lawyer for a number of reasons. First, because I didn't think i liked attorneys and wanted to protect people from them. Second, when I was young my family had a business that needed an attorney on rare occasions but couldn't afford the fees. This inspired me to try to make legal services available at a reasonable cost. Third, I was in college in the late 60's and early 70's when it seemed like everyone was fighting for a cause.
Over the years I have learned that attorneys as a group are like most other segments of society, meaning that there are good ones, bad ones, kind ones, mean ones, giving ones and selfish ones. As a class I don't think attorneys are any different from teachers, nurses, doctors, mechanics, plumbers and clerks. Every societal group includes individuals from one end of the spectrum to the other.
We all like and feel comfortable with different types of people. We all see and meet people that we may not care for because they remind us of someone else we didn't care for, or because they are too short or too tall or too skinny or too fat or too pretty or too ugly. We may not like the way a person talks or walks, or the way a person smiles or frowns. We all know that other people may not like us even though it has nothing to do with whether we are good or bad people.
Fortunately, you usually can choose your attorney, unlike someone rushed to the hospital with a heart attack requiring immediate surgery performed by someone unknown until after the operation. Just because you meet with an attorney doesn't mean you have to hire that person. To my knowledge most lawyers will provide a free consultation which gives you an opportunity to meet and greet. Even if you have to pay for a consultation it may be worth it since you don't have to commit yourself to a continuing attorney client relationship. I have consulted with a number of people over the years who didn't return. They may have resolved their problem on their own or sought out another attorney. There is nothing wrong with that. I have also consulted with people on one problem and had them come back a year or two later to hire me for something else. I am not offended in the least if someone decides not to hire me. I just hope I gave him or her helpful information.
Cost is obviously a factor in hiring an attorney. Cost first comes into play when deciding if you need an attorney in the first place or should try to handle the problem on your own. If you have a claim against someone for $2000 you shouldn't pay an attorney $2000 to handle it for you. I won't represent a clients who say at the first meeting that they are more concerned about the principle of being wronged than they are about the cost because after many months and dollars have been spent that attitude will almost always change. Hiring a lawyer is a financial investment. You don't want to throw good money after bad.
If you decide you have to hire an attorney you can shop around, but as is true with most products don't hire the cheapest or most expensive one just based upon the cost. You don't know what you are getting until you have gotten it. Also, different types of legal services are priced differently. I charge a flat rate for certain services like wills and an hourly rate for most lawsuits. Some attorneys will charge a contingency fee for collections and most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Whatever the fee structure make sure you understand it and if you are charged on an hourly basis make sure you receive itemized bills on a regular basis.
If you need an attorney ask people you know and trust for suggestions. Don't hesitate to call an attorney and ask him or her who would be a good person to contact about your particular problem. In closing, remember when dealing with attorneys that they are people just like you who happen to practice law for a living and that it is your case, not theirs.