1. Rushing to hire the very first lawyer who returns your call.
However frustrating and urgent your situation is, in civil cases you pretty much always have time – a few days or weeks or even months to consider your legal options, talk to several attorneys and eventually make a decision on whether you need an attorney and who to work with. Promptness is a good quality, but that’s just one important quality you should be looking for in an attorney. If a far more knowledgeable, experienced and personable attorney happened not to be available to talk to you the day you called for whatever reason (maybe he is in court, or took a personal day off), wouldn’t you want to at least talk to him before you make a decision on who to hire. Besides, some attorneys who immediately respond to inquiries from new potential clients tend to put their existing work to the back burner, and that might just not be the right attorney for you. If the statute of limitations in your case is about to run, then you might not have a choice but retain the first attorney who came file the case for you as soon as possible. Otherwise, you should not rush with this decision.
2. Looking for the cheapest attorney.
A decision to hire an attorney should not be governed by a $50 difference in an hourly rate or a small % difference in contingency fee arrangement. They say that you often get what you pay for. If a lawyer is offering his services to you at a substantially discounted rate, you must have an idea of why his rate is below market. Why is he willing to work for less than others?
3. Hiring a lawyer based on how nice his website is.
A lawyer’s marketing team and website designer don’t necessarily say much about his expertise. A flashy website doesn’t say much about a lawyer or any other professional for that matter, so it should not be a very significant factor. One exception to this is when a site has a lot of useful information written by the lawyer who owns that site, that shows that he is an expert in the field and invests time in educating people about his area of expertise.