If you’re in a situation where you need legal advice, you might be wondering how to find a lawyer.
How To Find a Lawyer
- Get a personal recommendation. The first thing you should do is ask your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances if they know a lawyer or have used a lawyer in the past. Personal recommendations can ease the stress of searching for a trustworthy and reliable lawyer.
- Ask a lawyer. If you already know a lawyer but they aren’t practicing law in the area you need help, ask for a recommendation. Most lawyers are well connected in their community and may have a great referral for your situation.
- Check your local bar association. You can find a lawyer with your local bar association. In your county or city, your bar association will have a lawyer referral service. There is also the American Bar Association which has a database to help you find the right legal help.
- Online lawyer directories. If you want to find a lawyer from home, you can use an online directory to search for a lawyer. Lawyer databases like Avvo and Martindale Hubbel allow you to search for lawyers in your location and the area of specialization.
- Legal Aid Services. In case you can’t afford a lawyer, you can contact many local legal aid offices for free or pro bono legal assistance. Typically, these services are offered to low-income people in non-criminal situations. To find these free services, you can search the white pages of your phone book or perform an online search using “Free Legal Aid [your city / state].”
Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer
Perhaps one of the most notable features of a good lawyer-client experience will be the way you are treated. As you search for a lawyer to handle your legal situation, take special notes of the way you are treated, how quickly they respond to your calls and e-mails, the professionalism of the office and conduct, and the number of staff working.
You have every right to ask prospective lawyers for some references of their past or present clients. Get as much information as you can about the lawyer, how they treat their clients, and a history of how they handle cases like yours.
Finally, the most important point may be to trust your instincts. When you walk into an office do you feel comfortable in the presence of the lawyer or completely terrified. You will be sharing private details of your life and you’ll want to be sharing this information with someone you feel you can trust and communicate well with. Depending on your situation, you may be putting your entire life on the line with this lawyer.
Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring
Now that you have some ideas about how to find a lawyer, you’ll want to ask them some questions before you make your choice. Here’s a few suggestions you can ask your soon-to-be lawyer:
- Do you offer a free consultation? If not, what is the cost of our first appointment?
- How long have you been practicing law in their field?
- Have you ever been subjected to disciplinary action? If so, what happened?
- Do you have experience with cases like mine? What were the outcomes of those cases?
- What are your fees? How do I pay you (advances, installments, lump sum, etc.)? Can we negotiate your fees or are they fixed? What services are included with your fees?
- How busy are you with other cases? How much time can you commit to my case?
- Is there any advice you can provide given my situation right now?