How to evaluate a lawyer?


The business in various stages needs to have access to legal help.

In my life I have talked to many lawyers and found myself basically wondering one thing:

How to evaluate a lawyer?


asked Mar 21 '12 at 11:22
1,779 points

4 Answers


Find other small companies, and ask for them to recommend a lawyer or law firm. That is also how you find your accountant.

During the early years your needs may change. When they change ask your current lawyer for a recommendation, or ask other mid sized businesses.

You can also look for a mentor to give you advice regarding this choice.

answered Mar 21 '12 at 19:49
Mhoran Psprep
644 points
  • That pretty much is it. References. People that are satisfied. Not a lot more you CAN do. – Net Tecture 12 years ago


I have experiences with lawyers but not with much success:
With hind sight, I would use these points, in future as a guide line:
a) don't go to court, it is a waste of time
b) but if dragged to court, find a lawyer who ask for good fees, he should be in demand for him to quote high fees.
c)Check up if he know the legal knowledge and technical knowledge.Most of them would know one of them but not he other
d) One man-show lawyer ,should not he appointee,is out of the question, he needs a proper supporting staff
e)Check continuously if he is doing his job. if suspicious of slacking drop him quickly and

Much depend not merely on the lawyer, sometime in litigation case, the out come depend on what kind of judge sitting on you case.He could be a lesser of a judge who does not know how to judge or worst still highly corrupt judge he might what good is a good lawyer

answered Mar 23 '12 at 02:35
9 points
  • *Check up if he know the legal knowledge and technical knowledge* Since I have no legal knowledge how do I check? *Check continuously if he is doing his job* I'd like to know that he/she will before I put them on retainer. – Karlson 12 years ago


As a lawyer- I'd say expertise in the specific field you need. That counts a lot more than educational background, I think.

answered Mar 21 '12 at 11:26
1,747 points
  • I agree but how to evaluate that there is actual expertise not just "Yakalot" expertise. – Karlson 12 years ago
  • As a programmer - half of the lawyers ian a field are below average in qualification. Per definition. if you want a GOOD lawyer, yo need a way to rule those (and the next 30%) out. – Net Tecture 12 years ago


From my understanding becoming a lawyer isn't something you just read a couple of books on at college, show up and do a quick multiple choice exam and get your degree. Studying to become a lawyer is a very involved process (I have a friend currently studying to be lawyer). So I'd say especially considering it is in a lawyers best interest and credibility to ensure you're given the correct and truthful information you don't need to evaluate a lawyer.

Unless you're talking about evaluating a lawyer on something ultra specific, I don't see why you would need too. As I said for a lawyer to graduate and be a successful lawyer they need an understanding of basic law which should easily meet the needs of 95% of all people that enlist the services of a lawyer.

And to be honest if you were to evaluate a lawyer you'd most likely be a lawyer yourself as you would be able to know if they're lying about something or not. What you're asking is like saying: "How can I evaluate a mechanic" or "How can I evaluate a heart surgeon", unless you're either or have a lot of knowledge on the subject you don't evaluate.

answered Mar 21 '12 at 13:15
Digital Sea
1,613 points
  • Most lawyers tend to specialize. Further certain types of law, like patent and trademark law require specific additional qualifications. It is highly unlikely that a criminal defense attorney would be qualified to represent you before the USPTO on a patent application for example. Another example of specialized practice is tax law. – Jonny Boats 12 years ago
  • -1. Reality check: Most lawyers are per definition below average in their quality (if you feel insulted go bac kto basic school and tell them you failed common sense and basic math). If you want a better than verage lawyer - that means you HAVE to evaluat them. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • The real question here is how do you evaluate someone on something you know something about? Hardly see what the downvotes were for. The point wasn't all lawyers know the same thing, they all have a basic understanding of the law regardless of what they specialise in, much like all doctors & nurses learn the same thing until they specialise in something. If you have to ask how to evaluate a lawyer you'll most likely never know how to evaluate one. How do you evaluate a bad mechanic even if they fix your car and it works, how do you evaluate they've done things correctly if you aren't one? – Digital Sea 12 years ago
  • Agree, but that means your answer was useless - thus a downvote is valid. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • @Dwayne If a mechanic fixes are car and it works he is an average mechanic at worst for a bad one it won't work. Most of us know something about cars and something about troubleshooting and for example a mechanic telling you that exhaust being smoky is because of the cabin microfilter is an idiot or a shyster. – Karlson 12 years ago
  • @NetTecture This whole question is useless. This site is meant to be about startups, yet this question is asking a subjectively vague question nobody can ever truly answer. From the FAQ itself: "Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page." this question needs to be closed, this is chatter and not beneficial to anyone. – Digital Sea 12 years ago
  • @Dwayne Bring this up on meta. As it stands I am trying to define a "procedure" to evaluate a professional. – Karlson 12 years ago
  • @Karlson no worries mate. I just created a topic on meta, I could be over-analysing the validity of this question, as I'm sort of confused myself. – Digital Sea 12 years ago

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