Most of our clients are referred by former clients; but, if you do not have a referral for an attorney, interview several until you find one with the necessary knowledge, experience, and integrity you would expect to represent your interests.
Anytime that you are in a situation where your rights and interests are endangered by a situation in which you are "outgunned and outnumbered." For example, I represent individual clients who find themselves in life-changing circumstances due to a serious injury or financial threat posed by insurance companies or the government in cases such as excessive use of force by police.
I often counsel those who contact me on ways to attempt to address their issue themselves first before hiring an attorney; but, it obviously depends on what kind of problem it is. It is never a good idea to attempt to address legal problems without at least consulting with an attorney because, for example, in civil cases, anything you say can be used against you as an "admission."
Anytime you wish.
Trust. It is a two way street.
That he/she does exactly what they say they will do. Beware of any attorney who promises a result of any kind when the result depends on someone else's decision, such as a judge.
Integrity, competence, and follow-through.
That depends on the issue. I have some cases billed hourly and some that are "contingency" fee where fees are only collected when a recovery is made for a client.
Serious injury and wrongful death cases for plaintiffs who were injured at no fault of their own.
I get to represent "David" in the "David vs. Goliath" fight; and, that inspires me to work extremely hard to win the case for the client. When we do, it could not be more gratifying.