What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I not only participate in a variety of continuing education, but I continue to work to educate the community on issues and changes in the law that may have impact on their lives. Whether it is a live or web based seminar, a book I have written, or videos and special reports that are available for free on either my website or youtube, there is a wealth of general information that I make available to the public. While none of it should be considered legal advice, and a discussion on a specific situation should be done in lieu of taking the information provided and assuming it applies to their situation, I do provide that base line information for people who may be in need or are interested in learning more.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Do your homework. Make sure that you're hiring a lawyer who regularly handles the types of cases you're hiring him/her for. In smaller areas you will find a lot of lawyers taking a variety of cases. No lawyer, at least in Maryland, is allowed to advertise that they specialize in any particular area of law, but they can tell you that most of their cases are of this type or that type. It is ok to hire a lawyer or law firm that handles a variety of cases, but make sure you're not hiring someone for something that they handle once a year.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Not all lawyers are crooks. Not all lawyers are difficult to get in touch with. No all lawyers take any case that pays a fee, whether they know about that area of law or not.
It is important to discuss potential cases with a variety of lawyers before making a decision, and try to do some research on what the "tough questions" might be when interviewing lawyers. Those who have the answers to the tough questions are likely experienced and knowledgable in the profession/practice area.