Finding good lawyers isn’t impossible when you know what to look for, how to sift out the best attorneys, and ways to help yourself when you decide to hire an attorney.
What Are Good Lawyers?
Good lawyers are legal representatives that work hard to get the legal outcome that’s best for you. Finding good lawyers starts with knowing what kind of lawyer you need and where to find one.
Finding a Lawyer
Determine what type of attorney you need
The kind of lawyer you need depends on your situation. These include:
- Bankruptcy lawyers – cases involving high levels of personal or business finances.
- Criminal lawyers – cases where the client is accused of illegal activity.
- Disability lawyers – cases where the client is seeking benefits from the Social Security Administration or Veteran’s Affairs.
- Trust and estate lawyers – cases involving estate planning, probate, obtaining guardianship of a family elder, and Medicaid qualification.
- Family lawyers – cases concerning family matters like divorce and separation, pre-nuptial agreements, adoptions, and child custody, guardianship, and support.
- Personal injury lawyers – cases concerning medical malpractice, accidents, injuries that are another person’s fault, or dog bites.
- Employment lawyers – cases involving employment rules, wrongful termination, or a business gets sued for another reason.
- Corporate lawyers – cases involving starting a business or corporation.
Review online listings of attorneys
Several websites offer lawyer reviews and listings. These include:
Cross-check reviews and listings from more than one website to get a more accurate picture of an attorney and to avoid a biased review from one upset person.
Narrowing It Down
Review Each Attorney’s Website
Check out the general information, the blogs, and FAQs. Pay special attention to the attorney’s education and experience, as well as any blogs or articles relevant to your situation. Search social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for professionalism.
A reference from friends and family will help narrow the list down a bit. Be cautious when deciding which attorney you’re going to hire, because making this decision shouldn’t be based exclusively on someone’s opinion.
Business owners in the area in question can give recommendations for good lawyers. A referral service may help weed out inexperienced lawyers or those without good standing with their bar association.
Consider a Specialist
Every attorney has an area of expertise. Even a «general lawyer» doesn’t know everything about every legal situation. Find a lawyer whose expertise is in the area you need.
Interview the Prospective Lawyers
Essentially, you’re hiring an employee; an interview isn’t a reasonable request. Most lawyers will spend 30 minutes with you at no cost to discuss your situation. This is enough time to decide if you feel comfortable with this lawyer representing you.
Communication and Promptness
Make sure you understand how to reach your lawyer, even during off-hours, and how long it usually takes to get an answer.
Tour the Lawyer’s Office
A stroll through a lawyer’s office can tell you a lot. Look for concerns like:
- Unreturned calls or stacks of messages.
- Unhappy workers.
- Vacant offices.
- Clutter and disorganization.
Once You’ve Decided
Understand How Attorneys Charge for their Services
Some lawyers, like disability and personal injury lawyers, don’t collect money from the client until the case is over, either by settlement or trial. This contingency fee ranges between 30 and 40 percent of the payment to the client.
Other attorneys charge by the hour. Total payment is based on how many hours the lawyer worked on the case. This type of billing is common in corporate cases where litigation is lengthy and complicated.