When you need a lawyer, it always seems to be difficult finding the right one to fit your needs. Of course, you want someone who’s knowledgeable and experienced, but what other qualities should you look for?
The first step before choosing a lawyer is doing some quick, easy online research. You’ll be overwhelmed by all the results that appear on your screen and narrowing them down to fit your specific needs is part of the process. You don’t want to contact the first person that appears in your search, it’s important for the lawyer to have a proven track record in cases similar to yours.
Here are five steps to help you find the perfect lawyer.
Step 1: Search the Internet
The first step, which happens to be the least time and energy-consuming way to find a lawyer, is searching the internet. The internet is the most readily available source for all your needs and it just so happens to be available at your fingertips. You can narrow your search down to your geographical area, look at the attorney’s background, read up on their client reviews, and get a better understanding of their case history. Check out these online directories: FindLaw, Avvo, and LegalMatch.com.
Be sure to do your homework and compare 3 or 4 options before coming to a decision.
Step 2: Word of Mouth
Like other important things you do in your life, asking people you are close to for advice should be one of the first steps you take. Chances are your friends or family will have an attorney they know and trust. If you know someone who’s sought an attorney for a similar reason, go ahead and contact them for a referral. They can provide you with their experience dealing with the attorney and their attorney may be able to guide you in the right direction.
Step 3: Ask Other Lawyers
If you’ve had an experience with a lawyer you trust, but they specialize in another area, you can ask them for a referral. Just because they can’t represent you in this case, doesn’t mean they can’t give you useful information. They should have connections within their legal community. All you have to do is ask, the worst they can do is say they aren’t able to help you.
Also, if you have a lawyer that you’re considering, they may know the lawyer personally and they can give you valuable advice that you can’t find online. They’ll know about the attorney’s personality, their reputation, and what it’s like working with them.
Step 4: Bar Associations
Each state has a local American Bar Association, which is a great source for referrals. These associations only refer attorneys who meet the competency requirements. They can also connect you with attorney’s who specialize in the area of law you’re looking for. Finding your areas bar association is as easy as hopping on to Google and searching for it.
Step 5: Meeting With Attorneys
This is the last step as it’s the most time consuming. We suggest meeting a lawyer face-to-face, but if for some reason this doesn’t fit into your schedule, making a phone call is your next best option. Phone calls can help narrow down your search, so you aren’t wasting your time.
However, face-to-face meetings are always the best way to get to know a person and the same goes when hiring a lawyer. Most lawyers have a free initial consultation, which usually lasts about an hour. You can ask them any questions you couldn’t find during your research online. Some questions you might considering asking them include: How much do they charge?, What’s their success record?, and Can you provide references from previous clients?.