How to Find a Good Attorney
Finding a good attorney may be the most important step you can take toward winning a legal case and it doesn’t have to be a difficult task. You will, however, need to take your time with the search. Focus your efforts on finding a lawyer that has dealt with your specific legal issue in the past and that you get along with personally. Taking the time to find the right lawyer will be worth it, as they are more likely to help you win your case.
1 Determine what type of attorney you need. It is always preferable to locate an attorney who has specialized expertise in the practice area that your case involves (e.g., malpractice law, bankruptcy law, etc.). It’s also a good idea to find attorney familiar with the courts and laws of the area where you live. This will enable your attorney to best represent your interests. Some examples of practice areas include:
?? Bankruptcy law. This will be helpful if you are struggling with your finances.
?? Criminal law. An attorney who specializes in criminal law is important if your case involves a crime or potentially illegal activity.
?? Disability specialist. Disability specialists can handle Social Security and/or veteran’s disability claims.
?? Trusts and estates. This type of lawyer deals with issues such as estate planning, qualifying for Medicaid, probating an estate, and obtaining guardianship of an elderly parent or grandparent.
?? Family Law. Family law attorneys handle matters such as separation, divorce, pre-nuptial agreements, adoption, guardianship, child custody and support.
?? Personal injury law. Personal injury attorneys handle cases involving medical malpractice, dog bites, car accidents and any injury to a person that may be the fault of another.
?? Employment law. Employment attorneys can help your business set up employment policies or handle cases where either an employee sues a business for wrongful termination or a where a business is sued.
?? Small business or corporate law. If you are looking to establish a business, a small business attorney or corporate attorney is your best choice.
2 Contact your local bar association for qualified attorneys in your area. State bar associations keep public records about complaints and disciplinary actions taken against attorneys licensed to practice in the state. Most local bar associations also have free referral services that can help you find an attorney to suit your case’s needs.
?? You can find your bar association’s website by selecting your state from the State & Local Bar Associations page provided by the American Bar Association.
3 Review online listings of attorneys. Many websites offer free reviews of businesses. Some places to look for lawyer reviews include: LegalZoom, Rocketlawyer, LawTrades, and Avvo.com.
?? Some websites, such as LawHelp.org, focus on helping low-income individuals find attorneys.
?? Cross reference reviews from more than one website. This will help counter any bias in reviews you find.
4 Get referrals and recommendations from friends and family. Talk to friends and family members who used an attorney. Find out who they hired, for what type of service, if they were happy with the services, and why or why not. Ask if they would recommend the attorney.
5 Make a list of the potential attorneys you have found in your area. Include the attorney’s name, address, phone number and website address. This will help you organize your search as you move forward.
6 Review each attorney’s website. You will want to look for information about the type of law the attorney practices. In addition, look for background information on the attorney, such as his or her law school and areas of specialization.
?? Look for some general information about the type of legal issue you need help with, including a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, or a blog with articles pertaining to your legal issue. The best attorneys will maintain well-developed websites offering a lot of information.
?? Most attorneys’ websites will provide information about each attorney working for the firm. Take a look at each attorney’s educational background and work history.
?? Typically, you should look for an attorney with at least three to five years of experience practicing the type of law you need help with. Additionally, you should choose an attorney that currently practices in the area you need help with.
?? Remember that many attorneys are also on social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Check these profiles as well. How an attorney conveys him- or herself to the public may help you get a sense of how you would be able to work with him or her.
7 Keep in mind that the size of the firm may matter. Law firms can vary in size ranging from one attorney to many attorneys, so you need to choose a law firm that you think will be best suited to your situation. Big corporations may want to hire a big-time firm to handle extremely complicated, often international, legal matters. However, if you are simply looking for someone to help you with your divorce or to help you write a will, you should feel comfortable hiring an attorney from a smaller firm.