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I would hire attorney first and then have attorney request continuance so he or she can have sufficient time to prepare. Since you requested the last continuance they would be more likely to grant continuance to your attorney. Plus it will prove you have hired and attorney. The judge would rather you be represented for a trial as it will make judges job easier.
Well it would be nice to be able to say you retained that particular attorney and he is unavailable that date and that would be the necessity for the continuance. I would ask the train you're in contact with, or his staff if you can pay the retainer and that way he can enter his appearance and request the content of the trial date. If he is unwilling to do so I would file your motion for continuance stating the fact that you have hired an attorney and the continuance as he is unavailable that date.