America has more lawyers per capita compared to almost any other country in the world.
Finding one is easy, but how do you select the lawyer who’s going to be right for you out of the more than 1.3 million available?
The best way to find the right attorney is usually through word of mouth. There are big variations in their skills, expertise, and experience, so if you can get a recommendation from a friend, that will certainly help.
The type of legal problem you’re experiencing will also influence the sort of lawyer you need to hire.
Our guide is designed to show you how to hire an attorney you’ll enjoy working with. It aims to reduce stress at what can be a difficult time, especially when you already have a lot on your plate.
Use Your Networking Skills
Word of mouth and referrals from your social network are some of the best ways of finding a lawyer.
Your friends and family are likely to be impartial in recommending an attorney they’ve used.
Ask them whether their attorney worked hard for them and was experienced in the area of law that matched their legal needs. Most of all, find out if they were pleased with the outcome of their case.
They’re best placed to let you know the positives or negatives they came across when dealing with a particular lawyer or law firm.
It’s usually best to avoid hiring a friend or relative for your case. Any legal battle could put unnecessary strain on a great relationship.
You may also find that they’re not qualified in the area of law you need. That will mean they’re not sufficiently competent to take on your particular legal issue.
Social media platforms are a great way to look around at what lawyers are available before actually contacting one.
There are websites, such as Linkedin, that will let you know the lawyer’s field of expertise and their credentials. You’ll also be able to read endorsements from former clients.
Understand the Kind of Lawyer You Need
The legal field is specialized and fast-changing.
You won’t find one attorney who can practice every type of law. Most lawyers focus on just a few areas.
It’s wise to be skeptical of anyone who promises too much or is willing to take on cases in nearly every area of law.
Search for attorneys who practice the type of law that suits your legal problem.
Do Your Research
Check out the law firm’s website. This company is a benchmark for a site that has high caliber content you can trust.
Make sure the subject matter is really substantive and backed up with examples of the type of work they do.
Don’t let yourself influenced by claims of huge financial settlements that have been won. All cases are different, and no attorney will ever be able to guarantee specific figures or results.
Make sure you check out the credentials of any lawyer you’re interested in by finding out if they belong to professional associations. Look into whether they have won any relevant awards.
Those who take part in professional associations are more likely to be right up to speed on the latest trends relevant to your case.
Interview Your Lawyer
Get in touch via the law firm’s website or through social media.
A reliable attorney should be able to answer some basic questions about the field of law that applies to you.
They should also be able to explain the process involved to get your case resolved. They’ll give you information about their firm and how they handle cases.
It’s very important to get a good idea of their fee structure so you know it will suit your budget. How quickly they are likely to respond during the legal process will have a bearing on any decision you make.
Don’t be afraid to meet with several attorneys before making your final choice. Take a tour of their offices if possible.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to put to a lawyer.
- What experience do they have in your type of legal problem?
- What sort of rates do they charge?
- How long have they been in practice and what is their rate of success?
- What proportion of their caseload involves handling your type of legal issue?
- What additional costs could be incurred on top of legal fees?
Legal Aid Services
If you need a lawyer but cannot afford one, you should get in touch with your local legal aid office.
It will provide free or reduced rate legal assistance to people with low incomes in non-criminal cases.
Use an Internet search engine or the library to find a local legal aid provider near you.
Carry Out a Background Check
Before taking on an attorney, get in touch with the lawyer disciplinary agency in your state to confirm that he or she is of good standing.
You should always check references, especially if you found your attorney using the Internet.
You can also check a lawyer’s peer review ratings through Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.
These will give you an objective indicator of their ethical standards and professional ability. The ratings are taken from evaluations by other members of the bar and judiciary.
Local Bar Associations
Make sure you check out your local bar association. Most will offer lawyer referral services to the public. Be aware, though, that they don’t necessarily screen for qualifications.
The American Bar Association also keeps an updated database for consumers seeking legal help.
Lawyers may also recommend other lawyers in the legal community who can help with your specific needs.
How to Hire an Attorney with Confidence
We want to make life easier for you. Our guide on how to hire an attorney will give you the resources to find the right lawyer for your case.
Check out our other blog posts for helpful tips to live your life to the fullest and succeed in career!