If you are looking to find a lawyer to represent you, then it can seem challenging to find the best person.
The first important thing to do is to narrow down your search to a more manageable number of candidates. There are well over a million practicing lawyers in the United States and so there is a glut of legal talent available.
Here is a good step by step guide to finding the right lawyer for you:
1/ Start off with personal recommendations from family, friends, and people you know because you may be surprised at quite how many will have had to use a lawyer at some stage. It can be especially useful to get leads for lawyers from people in the same industry as you if the field of law you need an expert in are very specific, for example, real estate law.
2/ Check with the state bar to make sure that any candidates that you identify are in good-standing, and also do some searches on a search engine for “lawyers name” + scam, conned me, useless, expensive and a few other choice phrases that may kick up potentially unhappy clients who used them in the past but were not satisfied with the experience.
Also, take a look on personal finance and legal advice forums in your state to see if any names of lawyers in the field which you are looking at keep coming up as being recommended, and similarly with social networking websites where you can locate groups of professionals who are active in the field of law where you need the expert.
Take these with a pinch of salt, because this is just the discovery phase and you usually haven’t met the people who are giving the advice. But this process can at least protect you from ‘red-flag’ lawyers who sound wonderful on their websites, but who consistently get lousy reviews off past clients.
Hopefully this preliminary research will come up empty of scandal, but don’t be sorry if it doesn’t. It is far better to not waste your time with a lawyer who has unhappy clients, and this fifteen-minute check can potentially save you a lot of heartache down the track.
3/ By this stage you should have a short list of potential lawyers who could represent you. The next stage is to arrange a preliminary meeting with several of them to discuss your case.
This should be free, and is your opportunity to interview your potential attorney, see if you get a feeling of their competence and character, whether you like them, and how much hiring them may cost you for the whole legal process.
Make sure you don’t just get per hour fees off them, but a real-sense of how they work and how many hours they are likely to be billing you. Ask them if they have ever handled a similar case in the past and how much that ended up costing in legal fees.
Also get details of their background, legal qualifications, and work experience so that you can do some online background checks to ensure that they are telling the truth.
(Do a search on a Google for ‘background checks’ and you will find a whole host of services that you can use.)
The process of finding a good lawyer is largely common sense and has much in common with the hiring process for a new employee.
Remember, you are doing the hiring! So you can afford to be choosy. There is no shortage of lawyers, and no need to worry that you will not be able to find the right one.
Be persistent, trust your judgment and double check whatever they tell you for accuracy even if they seem honest.
If they check out on recommendations, experience, case history, price, and affability, then you will have found your lawyer!