Where Do I Find the Right Attorney?

Hiring an attorney is often the first worry when something goes wrong and there are legal implications. Finding an attorney is actually quite easy, but for those who haven’t been there before, finding the right one can be tricky.

Despite there being approximately 1,320,850 employable lawyers in the US alone, in March this year it was reported that even the US President, Donald Trump, struggled to find a lawyer. Even the largest firms passed on the opportunity to represent one the world’s most powerful leaders, mostly due to him being an allegedly “difficult client.”

So where do you start? The first step to finding a lawyer isn’t deciding where to find the lawyer, but what lawyer you’re after and what lawyer you can afford. So first, decide which area of expertise you want your lawyer to specialise in; is your problem related to family relations, intellectual property, personal injury, employment, bankruptcy, business, property etc.? These are just some examples, but there are many specialisations and niches lawyers cover, and it’s best to find a lawyer that is best qualified to deal with your problem, rather than a lawyer that is a jack of all trades. This is also why it’s likely not best to hire a friend or a family member who is a lawyer, as their area of expertise may not cover your issue to the full extent necessary to win the case.

It’s best to find a lawyer that is best qualified to deal with your problem, rather than a lawyer that is a jack of all trades.

The second decision you have to make, is what you can afford, this will immediately narrow down your search to either low budget lawyers, no win no fee lawyers, or high-end retainer fee lawyers. The price of a lawyer doesn’t always mean a better a lawyer, however according to Amy Rees Anderson, founder and Managing Partner of REES Capital: “…nothing will be more expensive than hiring cheap lawyers, and nothing will be more painful than hiring the wrong ones.”

  1. Legal Aid

If you are on a budget and need low cost legal aid, there are some options you can root for. You can try looking to legal aid societies, you can visit a law school, you can contact your county or state bar association, you can check out your government website’s options, or you can take matters through small claims court, which most governments have made pretty easy on their local government websites. There is even an EU version. Your last option is of course representing yourself in court, which isn’t always allowed, but for small matters is seldom disregarded.

If legal aid isn’t your cup of tea and you’re very serious about your legal situation, then hiring the right lawyer regardless of cost should be a priority.

  1. By Referral

The best way to find the right lawyer is by word of mouth or referral. Ask your friends or colleagues who have been in similar situations who their lawyer was, what team they hired or where they sought out their lawyer. By getting a referral you’ll often get unbiased feedback and comments on a lawyer which your friend or family member has no vested interest in, financial or otherwise. This will hopefully give you a mixed box of suggestions based on reviews you can trust.

This may also be the quickest and more reliable way of finding a lawyer. By asking a friend or family member, you’ll have some context of the work they’ve done, be able to obtain their contact details fast and easy, and have a starting point when it comes to contacting the lawyer.

  1. Your local high street

Some people like to deal with their lawyers regularly and in person. If this is you, you may want to find a lawyer that is super local to you, so heading into town, googling local lawyers, or looking one up in your local yellow pages are all viable options. Finding a lawyer that is readily available at a moments notice can eliminate some of the hassle of dealing with a lawyer, such as emailing, phone calls and scanning/printing documents to sign.

Your local lawyer may not be the best, but perhaps the lack of complexity can compensate, and you don’t want to be travelling into the city every time you need to speak to them in person. Remember you still have the option to thoroughly research local lawyers, by looking up online reviews or asking local businesses about them.

  1. The Internet

The world wide web is probably your biggest resource for finding the right lawyer, albeit the more intricate and long-winded option. You’ll easily be able to narrow down the area of expertise, the locality and the price, though this will take time and savviness. For those that manage to see through Google Ads and flashy websites, finding the right lawyer via the internet will be the optimal course of action.

The world wide web is probably your biggest resource for finding the right lawyer, albeit the more intricate and long-winded option.

On the other hand, there are some reputable sites as well as government sites, that offer directories of lawyers, often with reviews and comments from clients or peers. Some of these may be ‘paid for’ listings, so be careful. In fact, Ken Callander, the Managing Principal at Value Strategies, recommends ignoring almost all attorney rankings and lists that are publicly published: “Many of these lists are based on peer ranking — which translates into, ‘I’ll recommend you for a list if you recommend me for this other list.’”

The Balance Careers suggests conducting candidate interviews, by which you will be able to allow each candidate lawyer to sell themselves for your custom. Important things to check with them would be: Do they hold the necessary qualifications to represent you in a local, state or county court? What experience do they have with issues similar to yours? How long have they been practicing and are they going to win you the case? What are the lawyer’s fees, conditions and billing structure? Does the lawyer have the necessary insurances?

Besides making sure that your lawyer is your friend, or at least has some degree of client care, and isn’t just in it for the money and success, ensure that your lawyer is a good communicator. When it comes to large firms and teams, this is hardly ever an issue, but when it comes to private practices and individuals, communicating updates and difficulties can often be a problem. This is mostly because they are caught up in servicing legal work for several clients at a time. Communication between you and your lawyer is crucial in any legal situation, whether they’re filing a trademark for you, or helping you purchase a property; make sure your lawyer responds to your emails, calls you when necessary and does their best to ensure you’re aware of what’s going on.

Callander says: “If you send a note to an attorney saying you’re interested in working with them and you don’t hear back the same day, I would hesitate hiring them.”

“If you send a note to an attorney saying you’re interested in working with them and you don’t hear back the same day, I would hesitate hiring them.”

If you are looking for a lawyer because you are wise and are aware that, as Entrepreneur columnist Cliff Ennico puts it, “the fee a lawyer will charge to keep you out of trouble is only a small fraction of the fee a lawyer will charge to get you out of trouble once it’s happened,” perhaps a general counsel or a multi-faceted team of lawyers are the priority options for you. Your future self will also be very grateful when a legal issue does crop up. If hiring a firm, and therefore a general legal team to cover your back, as a rule of thumb, the bigger the firm, the wider coverage you’ll in terms of legal expertise, as a larger firm will have a larger number of specialised lawyers at your disposal. However, in this case the overheads and therefore fees will also be bigger.

Finally, you can look up some of the world’s most reputable lawyers in Lawyer Monthly’s yearly Legal Awards, a publication which celebrates and awards the top legal professionals in their respective sectors. Click here for the latest edition.

Sources:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/28/politics/donald-trump-lawyer/index.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/05/09/the-lawyer-bubble-pops-not-moment-too-soon/qAYzQ823qpfi4GQl2OiPZM/story.html

https://studentscholarships.org/professions/475/employed/lawyers.php#sthash.2Txaixz6.dpbs

https://www.leanlaw.co/lawyers-united-states/

https://www.usa.gov/legal-aid

http://www.statebarassociations.org/

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-choose-a-lawyer-2164685

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/58326

https://firstround.com/review/Find-the-Best-Lawyer-for-Your-Startup-with-this-Off-the-Record-Advice/

https://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Good-Attorney

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/03/26/how-to-find-legal-help-when-you-cant-afford-a-lawyer

https://www.gov.uk/find-a-legal-adviser

https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money

https://www.justice.gov/usao
20 Comments
  1. Ellie Davis says

    Thank you for pointing out that you should make sure and consider your options when it comes to getting legal aid. My husband and I are needing to hire an attorney to help with an injury case. I’ll have to look into finding the best attorney in our area.

  2. Millie Hue says

    Thanks for pointing out that having a referral will be able to give you an unbiased view about a specific lawyer and also have an idea of their services. I will definitely ask for references to find a good one. It’s for the case that I want to file against a burglar since I have a CCTV footage, so I was able to record who it was when he took some of our belongings last week.

  3. Marcus Coons says

    I totally agree with you in that it is important to check with your friends when looking for a good attorney. It is important to understand that word of mouth can go a long way. We are planning on finding a good lawyer that can help us with employment discrimination, so I wanted to learn more.

  4. Tiffany Locke says

    I like that you mention how it can help to the time to research lawyers online to check their areas of expertise, price, and locality. When doing this, it would probably help to check out the attorney’s website so you can get information on their education, experience, and the areas they specialize in. This could also help you get their contact information so you can set up an appointment to meet them in order to ask questions and discuss your situation to determine which lawyer has the expertise to help with your situation and will keep you updated with what is happening in your case.

  5. Ellie Davis says

    Thank you for pointing out that there are many options when it comes to a lawyer. Finding the right lawyer for bankruptcy seems important. Hopefully, anyone going through that does their research.

  6. Ellie Davis says

    Thank you for pointing out that when it comes to finding an attorney there are different options. My husband and I are needing to hire an attorney to help with some documents and want to find the right one. I’ll have to do some research and find the best attorney possible.

  7. Sam Li says

    I love what you said about looking on the internet for a reliable solicitor. I believe that solicitors should be contacted in the event of any legal situation. If I needed such services, I would make sure to find the best law firm in my area.

  8. Adrian Jones says

    I like how you mentioned that looking for a real estate lawyer involves looking for them via referrals since there is a chance that you might know someone who’s had to use their services previously. At the same time, looking for them through a service that can provide legal aid for those who are unable to afford the service is also an option since there are people who might be in need of a lawyer’s service but are unable to pay for the fees. If I had the chance to work as a lawyer then I would provide this service for free for those who would be unable to afford it.

  9. Erika Brady says

    Your advice to figure out the type of lawyer you need based on the problem you have, such as one that specializes in commercial bankruptcy or intellectual property, would be important. Knowing the kind of attorney you need would be helpful as you research potential lawyers both online and through people you know. It could also help when you interview potential attorneys so you can ask questions more specific to your situation and their experience in the area of law to determine which one to hire for the best outcome.

  10. David Johnson says

    Thanks for explaining that it’s best to find a lawyer best qualified to deal with your problem. I think this is wise because everyone’s situation is specific and unique, in which case it would have a higher likelihood of success with someone who has more experience in the problems you’ll be facing specifically. I’ll have to look more into employment attorneys.

  11. Jenna Hunter says

    My cousin is looking for an attorney. She would be really relieved if she could get a professional to help her. I’ll be sure to tell her that she should figure out what kind of lawyer she needs by the problem she has.

  12. Brooklyn Johnson says

    Thank you for stating that the internet is probably the best place to find a lawyer. My friend is seeking legal advice but has never hired a lawyer before and has no idea how to find one. I will definitely pass along all of your great tips and information to my friend so she can find a great attorney.

  13. Stefan Bradley says

    It makes sense that you can find a good lawyer by asking for referrals. My uncle is interested in finding a lawyer with experience and skill. I’ll be sure to help him find the right lawyer for the job.

  14. Thomas Jameson says

    It’s good to know that you should interview different lawyers so that you can find the right attorney. My boss has been looking for an attorney to help him in a legal battle with a rival company. I’ll pass this information along to him so that he can find the right corporate attorney to represent him.

  15. Katie Wilson says

    Thanks for these tips on how to find a good estate lawyer. I agree that checking references can help you know they are right for you. My husband and I are looking for a lawyer to help us write a will, so we’ll have to check their references first.

  16. Carly Mckeen says

    Thank you for your amazing article on how to find the right attorney. I am currently in need of a lawyer and need help finding one. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information when looking for a great lawyer for my case.

  17. Katie Wilson says

    Thanks for these tips on how to find a good attorney. I agree that you want tot consider their past work first. My husband and I are looking for an attorney, so we’ll have to check their past work.

  18. Amy Winters says

    Thank you for pointing out that if you are low on money and need a lawyer that low-cost legal aid societies can help. My sister has been thinking about hiring a lawyer. It’s good to know that there are low-cost legal solicitors.

  19. Elisabeth Southgate says

    I appreciate your tips on where to go to find a lawyer. I like how you said that the best way is by referrals from people you know. My cousin might be needing a good corporate attorney. He will be interested to know that he should find one through a referral.

  20. Rachel Frampton says

    I’m currently looking for a probate lawyer right now for my grandmother, but I’m no expert when it comes to looking for the right lawyer that can handle our case. Thank you for this article, since my grandmother is the type who’d want to deal with a lawyer personally and every day, I think the best option for her would be to look for local lawyers, you’re right, this may avoid us from the hassle of phone calls and annoying emails. I hope we’ll find a lawyer who’ll help my grandmother throughout the process.

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