Finding the best lawyer to represent your interests isn’t as easy as picking a name from a Google search. It’s important to do your research to make sure that you find a firm that can connect you with a lawyer who you feel comfortable with and also trust to handle your particular legal situation. How do you find the best law firm and most appropriate lawyer for you?
Find the right experience: Not all law is created equal. You want to make sure that the law firm you decide to work with has the right experience for your particular case. Divorce lawyers, for instance, aren’t the best choice for corporate counsel. Some lawyers may specialize in several things and have a reputation for success in a variety of legal areas, but most lawyers, and even some law firms, have specialties. Finding a lawyer to work with you on your bankruptcy, estate, or short sale means connecting with someone who has the right skills.
Speak with several attorneys at several firms: Once you’ve narrowed down the list of quality attorneys in your area, you should ask if they offer consultations so you can share details about your case, ask for their input, and go over their credentials. Questions you might want to ask include those about additional fees, how accessible they will be for your legal needs, and who else from the firm might be working on your case. After speaking with them, ask yourself if you felt comfortable with their personality, experience, fees, and overall ability to answer your questions.
Search the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: Did you know there’s a directory dedicated to helping consumers find information on lawyers? The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory is a great resource for people seeking information about law firms or lawyers. It includes information about almost every lawyer in the US and Canada with biographical data on lawyers and information on law firms. You can even access law firm ratings based on peer reviews which can help you make a more informed decision.
Talk to other lawyers: Maybe you know a lawyer who doesn’t practice bankruptcy law. Perhaps they know someone who does. Lawyers are part of the legal community and know a lot about their peers. Ask lawyers about their opinions on other firms and legal experts, and find out what you can about their reputation and success in their area of expertise.
Take a tour: A website and phone call can only tell you so much. Seeing, as they say, is believing. If you can schedule a tour of a law firm office, go and see the space. Does it seem organized, well-run, and staffed with friendly and knowledgeable people? While you can’t tell everything from an office – like how skilled an individual lawyer is or how successful they are in defending their clients – if you are spending money on and significant amounts of time interacting with a lawyer and their staff, this step can help you feel more at ease with your decision.
Do your background research: Every state has a lawyer disciplinary agency that can help clients confirm if the lawyer they’re considering hiring is a member in good standing with the bar. You can contact them for more information once you’ve narrowed down your search. The American Bar Association can assist with referral services, and city or county bar associations may be able to help as well. A simple internet search can give you reviews from other clients as well as numerous websites that, sometimes for a fee, will provide services to help match you with a lawyer.
Consider other factors: Yes, experience counts for a lot. It is likely the driving force of your search and a deciding factor in who you hire. But it’s okay to weigh other factors into your decision. Consider elements like education and association memberships. Look at whether the firm is involved in nonprofit, volunteer, or pro-bono work to see if they are a good match for you and your needs.
Hiring a lawyer and finding a law firm to work with may seem as stressful as handling the legal issue itself, but following these steps can help give you more confidence about your case, filing, or other legal matter. Stress is often triggered by the unknown, and involving yourself in the process of information collection can help ease your uncertainty and help you feel better about the process. This may sound like a lot of work for a seemingly simple bankruptcy filing or will completion, but when it comes to your assets and future financial security, it’s a worthwhile investment of time.
Retaining a lawyer is a big commitment, no matter what issue you’re bringing to the table, and you deserve to feel comfortable. A smooth, successful handling of your legal matters can change your life for the better. Get in touch with us today–we hope to make a connection and be the firm that you choose.