Have you ever wondered how to find a quality attorney that is right for you?
I am an attorney, I know the kind of questions to find an attorney and I share those questions below in this post.
This post might come off like a commercial for finding me, but its not intended to be. People occasionally need to know how to find an attorney. If it’s in my area, I can refer them to someone I know and trust. If it’s outside my area, I usually don’t have a solid answer. For this reason, I started to think more about the process someone should go through to find an attorney. I came up with the steps below:
First. Ask people you trust.
Start with people you know and trust. Ask them if they have used an attorney who practices in the area in which you have a need. If the person you trust has used an attorney, find out about the experience, what they liked and did not like and whether they would recommend the attorney.
Second. Don’t forget about your online friends.
Social media and digital universe have greatly expanded the number of people you have access to. Reach out to some of the people you know through a social network or other online group to seek out the names of attorneys. The reach of social media increases the likelihood you might find an attorney through personal referral in a distant place.
Third. Use attorney-referral services cautiously.
You might find the best attorney in the world for you through a service that charges attorneys for referrals. On the other hand, you might find an attorney who is a terrible fit for you and end up having an awful experience. If you are going to generate names through a paid referral service, still run the names you get by people to generate additional information.
Fourth. Research the names you find.
The Web has ample free resources to find out information about people. Use them to generate information on an attorney you are thinking about hiring. A few places to look: the state bar association web site, online state court records, peer review ratings services such as www.martindale.com and, of course, Google, which should lead to the attorney’s website.
Fifth. Talk to the attorney before hiring.
Regardless of how you arrive at someone to hire, it makes sense to talk on the phone or in person with the person you are trusting your legal issues to. A few of the questions to ask:
a. How do you handle billing? Hourly rate or fixed fee? Are there other expenses that will have to be paid? How often do you send out invoices?
b. How do you update your clients on their project or legal matter?
c. If I want (or feel like I need to) to contact you, will I be able to?
One word of advice: Take extreme comments in stride. And by extreme, I mean extreme negative and extreme positive. One person’s glorious experience with an attorney or another person’s torture test with an attorney, doesn’t necessarily determine your experience. Try to discover reality. It is rarely an extremely negative or positive, but rather somewhere in the fluffy middle.
If you have any questions about finding an attorney, please leave me a comment below and I will try to answer.