Sometimes, you need the services of an attorney. But it can be challenging to sort out the good attorneys from the not-so-good options that may be available. Before you commit your time, money, and potentially your freedom to one particular lawyer, here are some tips to help you find the best one based on your needs.
1. Identify a Specialty
While lawyers can practice any area of the law, most attorneys choose to specialize. That means they develop their knowledge and skills to fight certain cases over others. To find the best attorney for your case, you want to find one practicing in the area of law as your case. For example, if you are fighting criminal charges, then a tax attorney may not be the best fit. Instead, you should find a criminal lawyer with experience in your type of case.
Choosing the right specialty helps ensure that your lawyer has extensive experience in the laws and regulations involved in your case. There are a variety of specialties, but some of the most common options include bankruptcy, criminal, disability, estate, family, personal injury, employment, and corporate.
2. Contact the Bar Association
Once you have your specialty narrowed down, contact your local Bar Association for additional information. Many Bar Associations have free referral programs, and they are often well versed regarding any complaints or disciplinary actions that have been filed. This gives you the kind of information you need to help you make an informed choice, as attorneys with multiple complaints or disciplinary actions may not be the best choice.
3. Online Reviews
The internet has allowed anyone to review just about anything, and lawyers are no exception. View information from reputable websites and see what others who have used that attorney’s services have to say. While you might not get a full picture, as many who have acceptable experiences may not be inclined to leave a review, it can help you narrow down your options if you see any red flags.
4. Friends and Family
Another source of reviews can be friends and family. If you know someone who had to deal with a case similar to yours, they may be able to give you more in-depth information regarding what their experience with their attorney was like. Again, while one person’s experience may not dictate how yours will go, it can be helpful to hear directly from someone who employed that specific lawyer.
5. Check the Attorney’s Website
Most businesses run a website, including lawyers. Take the opportunity to learn how the practice operates by reviewing the frequently asked questions section. You can also find accurate contact information and an overview of each attorney’s background. Don’t forget to check social media too, as many professionals maintain pages on those sites as well.
6. Schedule a Consultation
Any attorneys that remain on your list as potentially being the right choice, schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Many law offices provide your first consultation at no charge, giving you an opportunity to meet with the lawyer and see what they think about the nature of your case, including the chances of success and if they might be the right fit for your needs.
If the consultation goes well, then you can also get information regarding their standard rates, retainer requirements, and billing practices. While price should not be your first factor when determining whose services to secure, it is important to understand what the costs could be before you commit.
Even if your first consultation goes well, don’t automatically cancel the others. It is better to discuss your options with a few attorneys and see which seems to offer what you need. After you complete the consultations, then see if one of the attorneys stands out as your first choice, and proceed from there.