Factors that Clients Consider Before Hiring a Solo Attorney

by Melanie Fischer on December 14, 2015

keep calmAlthough it might not come across as a formal interview when prospective clients meet an attorney for the first time, most prospects evaluate several things about an attorney before they choose one.

Just as you want to make sure you work with the best quality clients, your prospective clients also want to make sure they hire the right attorney.

Most solo attorneys are keenly aware of the stiff competition in certain legal sectors. While every solo attorney offers a unique set of skills and experience to prospective clients, the fact is that there can be dozens of attorneys in any given metropolitan area who specialize in the same area of law. Solo attorneys in any area of law often vie for the same clients. Therefore, it’s important for attorneys to understand what prospective clients tend to consider before selecting an attorney.

Following are some factors prospective clients consider before asking a solo attorney to help them with their legal issue:

Experience in a specific area of law. When prospective clients need an attorney’s help, they typically look for one who has expertise in a specific legal realm. If you do not have the right experience, prospective clients will certainly take this factor into consideration – even if you were recommended to them by a friend or colleague.

Referrals and recommendations. Many prospective clients prefer to select an attorney about whom they have received a positive word-of-mouth recommendation. Even so, as stated above, you still must offer adequate professional experience in the relevant area of law in order to be considered.

Hourly rates and fees. If your hourly rate is significantly higher than that of other solo attorneys in your vicinity, you might not be affordable to a large number of prospective clients. No matter how much some prospective clients may want to retain you, it might not be possible if they cannot afford your charges.

Free initial consultation? Many prospective clients are unwilling to pay for an initial consultation with an attorney. If prospective clients do not want to pay for a first-time meeting, they might search for an attorney who is willing to offer an initial meeting at no charge.

References. Prospective clients might ask you to provide one or more professional references. If you cannot provide references, the client might question whether you are the best possible attorney to handle their specific legal matter.

When prospective clients communicate with you for the first time, they undoubtedly form an immediate opinion about you. They use this information when they make a decision about whether or not you will be hired. There’s little doubt that many factors are taken into consideration when prospective clients choose an attorney. Obviously, they want to hire an attorney who has the best chance of success in resolving the legal issue at hand.

Clients want an attorney who thoroughly understands the pertinent area of law, one who has a compatible personality, and one who is enthusiastic about their case. As most seasoned solo attorneys know quite well, not all prospective clients who walk through the door will become actual clients. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the specific factors that prospective clients might contemplate prior to your initial meeting.


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