How to find a good attorney is a question on everyone’s mind when in need of a lawyer. And it’s difficult for an ordinary person to know how to find a good attorney. The legal profession is just like any other profession where you have good, disciplined and honest members as well as bad, not disciplined and dishonest ones. And in the legal profession, unfortunately, only fellow attorneys and judges know who is who. That leaves us, the ordinary people, to learn as best as we could on ways of how to find a good attorney to represent our case.
When faced with a legal issue that requires lawyer’s participation, the only thing worse than not having a lawyer is to have a bad one. However, the “good” and the “bad” labels are a subject to a personal judgment. As mentioned above, while only fellow attorneys and judges know who is the good, the bad, and the ugly attorney, in the ordinary human world, two people could share a totally opposite opinion about one attorney who represented both of their cases. It’s all based on the results that the attorney was able to obtain for them and whether the clients’ expectations were met or not. This leads us to a conclusion that when we have a lack of resources to evaluate our prospect attorneys, we need to depend solely upon our individual judgment to pick a good attorney for our case.
On the other hand, there are ways to at least sense a bad attorney. Wait! Isn’t it the subject of this article “How to find a good attorney”? Indeed so. In order for you to know how to find a good attorney, you need to know how to at least sense a bad one. Let’s touch up on some basics.
1. Very simple. If you need to file for a divorce, would you call a criminal lawyer? Of course not. That’s a bad lawyer for your case. On the same note, if other than a divorce lawyer is offering to handle your case, you would say no. You immediately know that a good lawyer for your case would be the one who has expertise in whatever legal issue you’re facing.
2. You somehow find a lawyer that has the expertise in your problem area and you make a contact with him or her. But, it takes that lawyer a week or two to get back to you. That attorney may not be a bad lawyer but he or she may be overbooked with other clients and does not have enough time to give the needed attention to your case. That’s a bad lawyer for your case. That attorney needs to immediately tell you that because of their current work load he or she wouldn’t be able to handle your case. But if he or she doesn’t tell you that, you need to immediately dismiss that attorney and look for another one who can give you the needed attention.
3. Here comes the bad one. It is highly unethical for a lawyer to pay a referral fee or a bonus for “leads” on new cases. (Depending on state law, a referral fee sometimes may be paid to another lawyer, but it needs to be disclosed to the client). Some of the profession’s “bad apples” may still engage in the practice of paying “runners” for tips on new clients. So if a stranger (or even someone that you know) seems excessively persistent that you need to see a lawyer, or just happens to have a supply of the attorney’s business cards, look out! This is not the kind of person who deserves your trust. On the same note, if you bump into a lawyer who does not take his or her time to understand your case but is also excessively persistent that you need to hire him or her, look out!
Now, let’s cover some basics on ways of how to find a good attorney.
1. One of the best ways on how to find a good attorney is to ask someone whose opinion you trust; another lawyer, your accountant, banker, coworker, family friend, business acquaintance. These are the people that you trust and you know that they wouldn’t refer you to a bad lawyer if they happen to know one related to your legal need.
2. If the above doesn’t work for you, you could always call a company that may be represented by a lawyer of your need. For an example, if you’re looking for a real estate lawyer, call a title company and ask them who they use. If you need a collection lawyer, call a collection agency. But, if your issue is pure personal, ask anyone who you trust, who has recently been through a lawsuit, and who is very satisfied with their lawyer. Even if that lawyer is not the right one for your case, you know that you’re contacting a good lawyer. Call that lawyer and explain that you couldn’t find an attorney on your own and ask him or her if they could refer you to the appropriate attorney for your case. Lawyers are the best source of information about other lawyers. And a good lawyer will always refer you to another good lawyer who could handle your case.
3. And last but not least on how to find a good lawyer, call your local or state bar association and ask them to refer you to a lawyer who is in good standing with the bar. Also, always check with your state or local bar association if your prospect lawyer has ever been the subject of an ethical complaint or inquiry.
To sum up the ways on how to find a good attorney, the primary considerations in selecting an attorney needs to be whether you feel comfortable with the attorney selected, and if you are confident that the attorney is competent in his or her field of expertise. You must feel very comfortable with the attorney and must feel confident that the attorney selected is the one who can capably handle your needs. Make sure that you interview two or three lawyers before making a decision on which one to retain. Ask yourself when interviewing a lawyer: “Do I feel comfortable talking to this lawyer, and am I confident in his or her abilities?” If the answer is anything other than a definite “yes,” you need to keep looking. Your case is too important to entrust to someone who does not inspire your confidence.
Disclaimer: The author and publisher of this article have done their best to give you useful, informative and accurate information. This article does not represent nor replace the legal advice you need to get from a lawyer, or other professional if the content of the article involves an issue you are facing. Laws vary from state-to-state and change from time-to-time. Always consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about the issues described in this article. Thank you.