To locate a qualified attorney to assist you with your legal matter, follow these steps.
By Attorney Cara O’Neill
You might want to consider hiring a lawyer if your legal issue is complicated or involves large sums of money. Lawyers do more than only provide legal advice, after all. They address legal issues with advanced technical capabilities and strategic guidance. Finding a knowledgeable and capable attorney to help you navigate the challenging legal system is ideal.
How to Find the Right Lawyer?
Finding a competent attorney who can effectively assist with your specific issue is not always simple. You won’t locate a good attorney by browsing the internet or reading an advertisement for a lawyer in your area. These sources don’t include enough information to enable you to create an informed opinion.
Luckily for you, there are alternative choices. Here are some useful tactics.
Speaking with members of your community who have dealt with issues similar to yours is a better strategy. For instance, if you are reporting sexual harassment, you should get in touch with a women’s organization.
Find out about their lawyers’ backgrounds and opinions on them. It’s likely that you will get numerous useful leads if you speak with six or seven persons who have experienced a comparable legal issue.
However, don’t choose a lawyer only on the basis of a referral from another person. The demeanor and manner of a lawyer will elicit different reactions in different persons.
After you’ve met with the attorney, talked over your case, and determined that you two are comfortable working together, decide whether or not to hire them.
Furthermore, obtaining a personal referral to a lawyer with the necessary experience may not always be easy. For example, you won’t benefit much from your friend’s recommendation if she had a terrific divorce lawyer but you require incorporation counsel.
Don’t give up right away, though. Try giving the divorce attorney a call, letting them know you heard great things about them, and finding out if the firm works with a specific business attorney. Perhaps you’ll discover the ideal fit.
Numerous websites, such as Nolo.com, provide a means of finding local attorneys in your area according to your case type and region. You respond to a few inquiries regarding your case and give your contact details. A lawye who practices in the region you require then gets in touch with you directly.
Companies that cater to influential figures in the field of law you’re interested in may also be able to recommend attorneys to you. For instance, consult your accountant, insurance agent, or real estate broker if you require assistance with small business law.
These professionals routinely interact with business lawyers, so they are in a position to make well-informed decisions regarding them.
Lawyer Referral Services
Services for referring lawyers are another source of data. Even if state bar association approval is a prerequisite, there is a significant disparity in the caliber of referral services. Certain legal referral services thoroughly vet attorneys and only include those who meet specific requirements and have a specific level of experience on their lists.
On the other hand, other services will list any lawyer who has liability insurance and is in good standing with the state bar. Prior to selecting a lawyer referral service, find out about the requirements for listing attorneys and the selection procedure.
But a lawyer referral service might not provide you with an understanding of the lawyer’s thinking. You won’t be aware of the attorney’s communication or litigation style, for example.
Here are some additional resources you may use to find potential attorneys in your area of need:
- Avvo: Avvo, a Nolo partner, provides data on almost all attorneys in the nation. Client testimonials, bar information, disciplinary histories, peer recommendations, and more are available.
- A reliable source of business lawyers could be the director of the chamber of commerce in your state or town.
- You can be confident that the director of a nonprofit organization with an interest in the case you are filing knows attorneys that practice in that field. For instance, it would make sense to speak with an environmental organization dedicated to preventing urban growth if your disagreement concerns the cancellation of a new subdivision development.
Consider a Specialist
Remember that a “general practitioner” who handles a variety of legal matters may not be knowledgeable enough in the specific area of your concern to be of any use. For instance, of the approximately one million attorneys practicing law in the United States today, probably less than fifty thousand have sufficient expertise and experience in small business law to be truly helpful to a prospective business owner.
Working with an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area can be beneficial when it comes to matters like software design, restaurant licensing, zoning rules, and employment discrimination. In this manner, you can benefit from the lawyer’s advanced level of experience. Even if an expert may charge a bit more, the money is frequently well spent.
Interview the Prospective Lawyers
The next stage is to have one-on-one conversations with each of the prospects whose names you have obtained. Many lawyers may agree to meet with you for free for about 30 minutes if you specify your demands in advance so that you can size up
Be especially mindful of the rapport you have with your attorney. Even with years of experience and glowing referrals, if you don’t feel comfortable with a lawyer after one or two meetings, you may never develop the perfect -client connection.
Follow your gut and look for a lawyer whose demeanor meshes well with yours. Additionally, consider accessibility, rapport, and experience.
Communication and Promptness
You need a lawyer that will put in a lot of effort on your behalf and complete all tasks on time. Find out how to get in touch with each potential attorney and how long it will take them to respond to your correspondence.
Even if the attorney seems approachable and is easy to talk to, don’t skip this step. It will be appreciated by busy lawyers that you follow their workflow systems, which they frequently have in place.
To be fair, some customers have unrealistic expectations, but the complaint records of all lawyer regulatory agencies unfortunately show that many lawyers are poor communicators.
It’s great to hear from your lawyer within a day, but if it takes a few days, don’t panic if you have to wait to speak with them over the phone or schedule an appointment. Your patience will be much appreciated as most lawyers have to balance their busy court schedules with office time.
Anything more than a few days, though, is usually not necessary. The office ought to get in touch with you to at least clarify the delay.
Lawyers understand that nothing irritates a client more than waiting weeks or even months for anything to happen, and that this can be detrimental to your case. Before you find yourself in this predicament, think about getting a different attorney if your calls go unanswered.