Before diving into a search to find an attorney, first decide if you actually need one. Were you injured in a car accident? Then yes. A dispute with your neighbor? That depends. If the dispute doesn’t involve anything illegal, then you will save yourself a lot of time and money resolving it on your own. However, if your neighbor has broken the law and it has affected you in some way, then it's time to begin your search. If you are uncertain if you need an attorney, find one who will give you a free consultation. They will tell you if it's worth your investment to hire an attorney and possibly pursue legal action.
But how do you find a lawyer? It is not as easy as choosing the first name you find in an online search. But the time and effort you put into your search helps ensure you find the lawyer that is right for you.
Online Attorney Directories
There are a lot of attorney directory sites, including SimpleLaw, where you can search for a lawyer across a given set of criteria, like practice area or location. Once you conduct your search, and see your list of qualifying attorneys, choose the ones that you want to make a connection with. Be sure to look at the details of each attorney profile.
Be sure to consider a few things.
- Must have: Is the attorney in good standing?
- Preference: Does their communication method work for you?
- Consider: How much expertise do they have in the practice area of your legal matter?
For more detailed criteria to help determine if a lawyer is right for you check out our blog here.
Ask for personal recommendations from family and friends. Be sure the recommended lawyer has experience in the right practice area for you. If your best friend recommends the lawyer he used in his divorce, and you need a lawyer for a personal injury case, his lawyer would not fit the bill. You want a lawyer who has expertise in the legal matter you are dealing with.
Bar associations are another great source. You can search for attorneys by area of practice expertise and location. They also give you a summary of any complaints against the attorney and if they have been resolved or not. You can search for your local bar association through a search engine or the American Bar Association has a comprehensive list of bar associations by state.
Online Review Sites
Be sure you have done your homework when searching for an attorney. Check out online review sites for attorneys on your list, if they have one. Remember to take that with a grain of salt, though. Most people only post to review sites if they are unhappy. But do look for a pattern. Don’t let that eliminate the attorney, but be prepared to ask about the reviews.
Be Serious About Hiring an Attorney
Now that you have narrowed down your list, the next step is to schedule an appointment with your prospective attorneys. There are a few things to keep in mind before and during your meeting with a potential attorney.
If you are going to schedule an appointment with an attorney, go with the intention of possibly hiring them. Their time and knowledge is valuable so don’t just fish for information and then never contact them again.
Go to the meeting with prepared questions and the details of your legal matter. Ask the lawyer questions such as: what level of expertise do they have in the practice area of your matter, what is the estimated time it will take to resolve the matter, what is the estimated cost and so on.
Take good notes and be sure to write down how the interaction went as a whole. If you’re meeting with multiple attorneys, it’s easy to get the experiences a bit mixed up.
Finding the right representation can seem like a daunting undertaking. But take it step by step - do the research, ask the questions, and listen to your gut - and you will find the right attorney in no time.
If you have any questions, we are here to help. Contact us anytime at Hello@SimpleLaw.com.