Finding a good lawyer is no easy task. Even if you know a good lawyer, she might not specialize in the area of law you require. Whatever type of dispute you find yourself involved in, from personal injury to real estate, finding the right attorney is crucial for the outcome of the case.
The first step in finding a lawyer is determining what type of case you have. Lawyers are not “one size fits all.” The law is vast, and attorneys specialize in various areas of law. Make sure you select an attorney who specializes in the right area of law.
If you know anyone in the field, or if you have a friend or family member who has similar legal issues, you can always ask for a referral. Online resources are also great, and arguably the best way to begin your search. A simple online search will also likely show you attorney reviews, which can help you determine who you want to hire for your case. You can also check your state or local Bar Association’s website for a list of local attorneys. If you know the name or license number of a particular attorney, you can also check to see whether any disciplinary action has been taken against her, which may factor into your decision.
Unlike a local attorney referral service, online matching services like Legalmatch will allow you to review the attorney’s education and experience, view their track record, see their availability, and understand what the attorney will charge for their service. Legalmatch gives a more comprehensive overview of the attorney.
Still, a good percentage of TV ads and billboards are posted by lawyers, and many people find their attorneys through these advertising campaigns. Nevertheless, one problem with lawyer ads is that they don’t allow you to conduct a thorough search of the lawyer’s background and performance.
Once you’ve reviewed pre-screened lawyers in your area that match your needs, you will want to interview a few to determine whether she’s an attorney you feel confident you can work with.
It’s important to make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer you choose, so an initial phone call or consultation is key. Some people prefer an initial phone call because it’s quicker and easier to narrow down potential attorneys, while others prefer a face-to-face consultation. Most attorneys will respond to phone calls within 24 hours of receiving a message, but sit-down appointments may not always be as quickly available.
Most lawyers offer free initial consultations. Whether you choose to talk on the phone or face-to-face, you will want to present the facts of your case and ask any questions you may have.
It’s important to try to determine whether your attorney can handle your case from the first meeting. Here are some questions that you should ask your potential attorney.
1. Have you handled a case like mine before?
You want a lawyer who has expertise on the legal issue you’re facing. The attorney doesn’t necessarily need to be a veteran, but this shouldn’t be the first time she has a case like yours, either.
2. What are your legal fees?
Before you decide to hire an attorney, you need to know what her cost will be. You want to make sure you can afford the attorney’s services.
3. Have you ever been sanctioned or disciplined for attorney misconduct?
If the potential attorney has violated or been accused of violating any rules of professional conduct (like overcharging his clients!), you want to know.
4. How will you communicate with me regarding my case?
You want to be apprised of the status of your case. Ask the attorney how she plans to communicate with you and how often you will hear from the attorney.
5. Are there any other ways to resolve my problem?
A good attorney will suggest other, less expensive remedies that don’t involve litigation. Perhaps mediation or arbitration are suitable alternatives, and if that’s the case, the attorney should inform you of these alternatives.
6. What will be the outcome of my case?
An attorney should never guarantee a result, but knowing the potential chances of winning will help you determine whether you want to proceed or not.
If you want to find a lawyer in your area, check Legalmatch – we can help you find the right attorney!
7. Do you carry errors and omissions insurance?
Errors and omissions insurance, also known as malpractice insurance, is insurance coverage that covers attorneys in case of a mistake or omission that may occur during your case. This insurance coverage helps cover any damages that may be owed to a client if it is deemed that a mistake occurred.