For many people, finding an attorney is a mysterious thing. That's because the average person doesn't hire an attorney everyday. But sometimes in life challenges surprise us and we find ourselves in need of a legal professional. Some examples are drafting a will or contesting a probate, starting a business, estate planning, an arrest by the police, automobile accident, civil law suit, and divorce and child support issues. So when these events pop up and we know we need a lawyer, how do we find one?
If you have a friend, family member, or other trusted person such as a minister, priest, or therapist, perhaps they have had some similar experiences and can refer you to someone they trust. Often that is not the case and people then are forced to search through phone books, internet searches, and television commercials to find an attorney. So here are some tips to help.
Attorneys specialize and it’s important to find someone who handles
your type of case; criminal defense attorneys represent people accused of crimes such as a DWI. Estate planners draft wills, create trusts, and help you decide what happens to your stuff when you die. And when you are facing divorce, child custody matters and child support, you should look for an attorney that focuses his/her practice on these types of cases.
Keyword searches on Internet are a good way to find some candidates; avoid
referral sites and directories, you don’t need a middleman who gets a portion of the fees.
Check out their websites and choose three or four attorneys who handle
your type of case. But don't get too caught up on their website; don't be overly impressed with the flash, beeps, and whistles. You should get a feel for the attorney, their qualifications and background, as well as learn something about the law as it relates to your issue by their website. You should be able to get basic questions answered such as contact info, office location, potential fees and costs, as well as testimonials.
Call all of them and ask to speak to the attorney and not just an appointment setter or staff member. Once you get the lawyer on the line, ask questions such as how long practicing, what percentage of their practice is this type of matter etc.
Lastly go and meet with them, ask more about the case, about how they will work with you, accessibility, fees, etc.
Bottom line, you need to choose the person that best resonates with you. This person is going to speak on your behalf and represent you and your interests. If the attorney guarantees results, only talks about money, or seems too good to be true, you should probably find someone else.
That should get you started. If you have any questions, please contact me.