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What Determines a Good Attorney?

— March 14, 2022

A fancy law school degree is a good place to start, but it takes actual courtroom experience for most attorneys to become great.

Some people are well acquainted with attorneys and may even have a law firm on standby to help them when they need it. However, most people only occasionally need help from a lawyer and may not know what to look for when choosing a good one. These are some traits to look for in a good attorney.

Communication Skills

Excellent attorneys, such as Courtney Lanier Sarofim, are not only good at communicating a case to a judge or jury but are skilled at communicating with clients. Clients may not always understand complex legal issues and a good attorney knows how to explain difficult concepts in simple terms. Good attorneys are also vigilant about promptly responding to inquiries and keeping clients updated.

Good Judgment

People put a lot of trust in their lawyers. Lawyers must sometimes make difficult decisions that can have a significant impact on their clients’ lives or financial situations. A good attorney needs to have exceptional decision-making skills. Additionally, attorneys must be able to analyze a case with limited information, perform risk analysis and know when to ask questions.

Passion and Drive

Choose an attorney who is passionate about being an attorney and is driven to get the best possible outcome for clients. Being an attorney is not an easy job. The workloads are high and there is a lot of pressure to perform. You don’t want an attorney who is just putting in the minimum effort to collect a paycheck. You want an attorney who is always striving to be better and do better for clients.


Most attorneys will give lip service to how much they care about clients, but for some, that is just marketing jingo. Meet with the attorneys you are considering and gauge how well they seem to empathize with your situation and understand what you are going through. People who deal with people who are in a jam or have suffered some tragic circumstance day in and day out can become numb to the pain and worry of their clients. Choose an attorney who hasn’t forgotten what is really at stake.


Image by espartgraphic, via
Image by espartgraphic, via

The law is a broad topic. No one can be an expert in every facet of it. This is why most attorneys specialize in particular areas of the law. Make sure to choose an attorney who specializes in the type of law you need help with. For example, if you need someone to defend you against an assault charge, you probably don’t want to hire a divorce lawyer.


One of the best ways to get an idea of how well an attorney has performed in the past is to talk to past clients. Ask the attorneys you are considering for referrals. Since they are probably only going to refer you to clients they know are happy, also look for reviews online. Ask them for some data that demonstrate their track record of winning cases similar to yours.


A fancy law school degree is a good place to start, but it takes actual courtroom experience for most attorneys to become great. Ask the attorneys you are considering about how many cases like yours they have handled. Find out how many they won and how many they settled out of court. A lawyer who can negotiate a fair settlement without going to court is valuable, but not all cases can be settled, so you don’t want to choose someone who has never been in a courtroom.

Firm Size

Larger firms usually have more resources than smaller ones, but they also have more clients and cost more. If your case is a relatively small matter, a large firm may not make it a priority. Smaller firms tend to provide more personal and less expensive services. However, if your case is complex, they may not have the resources to pursue it.

Many factors go into choosing a good attorney. Because it can take a while to find the right person for your needs, it can be a good idea to investigate attorneys in your area before you need one.

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