Always check background, experience, and disciplinary record before you hire the lawyer. You should inquire about the specifics of a lawyer's background while you are trying to determine whether to retain the attorney or not. Check with the Board of Professional Responsibility to see if the lawyer has been publicly disciplined and why? Make sure you drill down into the details to make sure you know what your attorney's record is.
Do Interviews about Experience and CLEs
Consider interviewing more than one lawyer before you make your final choice. Ask if the lawyer has handled similar matters, and what the outcomes were. Also ask if the lawyer has taken any continuing legal education courses which relate to your problem. Going it alone, you can miss and say the wrong things if you are not represented by an advocate as your attorney. This is why experience is a necessary line of inquiry as you look for a skilled counselor.
Ask your friends, family, business associates, or other acquaintances about lawyers they have used. Chances are you will come up with at least a few names.
Find out from the lawyer what you will be charged for the legal services provided. Just because a lawyer's fee is higher, that does not always indicate competence to properly handle your matter.
Meet the Attorney
Schedule an appointment to meet and interview the lawyer. Feel comfortable with your choice. That is the best way to start out once you know that you need an attorney.