Finding a trustworthy lawyer when you need one can be an overwhelming task. If you’ve been lucky to this point, you haven’t needed legal help before.
So where do you start if you don’t know a good lawyer?
Consider Whether You Truly Need a Lawyer
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Unless you have a personal injury case, a lawyer is going to cost money – probably a lot of it.
Not all legal problems require a lawyer though. You may be able to resolve your problem on your own. Unfortunately, some lawyers, even though they know they aren’t absolutely necessary, will be glad to take your money for what amounts to an easy job for them.
The internet is a great resource to find people that have faced similar situations. Sites like Reddit and Quora can connect you with others that may have been able to address their problem without hiring a lawyer. Of course, like anything else on the internet, make sure to take what you read with a grain of salt. There are plenty of so-called “experts” out there. However, by using your own common sense you can determine what is real and what is phony.
Also, if you aren’t embarrassed to talk about it, check with friends and family. They may have found themselves in a similar situation and can give you some guidance as to how they got out of it.
5 Steps to Finding a Trustworthy Lawyer
Finding a good lawyer from the hundreds, or even thousands, of options available to you can be difficult.
We have 5 steps you can take to finding a lawyer:
Speak to Friends and Family
Speaking with someone who has used a lawyer before provides the greatest insight into the lawyer’s skills, style, and temperament.
Again, your legal issue may be sensitive or embarrassing. If you don’t want to talk about specifics, you can simply ask for the name of a lawyer that they recommend. Even if the lawyer doesn’t practice in the area that you need, he or she can refer you to another lawyer that they trust.
Be careful about basing your decision on prior results. Every case is different. While your friend’s case may not have ended favorably, the facts of her case may not have been winnable.
Rather, the most important considerations are whether the lawyer was skilled and whether she treated your friend or family member with respect. A significant problem that crops up is lawyers not returning phone calls. Make sure to ask your friend or family member if their lawyer returned their phone calls on time.
Call Your Local Bar Association
Your local county bar association can be a helpful resource in finding a lawyer.
Many bar associations have referral services based on practice areas. Just be mindful that lawyers must pay to be a member and that most referrals are not based on merit but rather “who is next in line.”
Perform a Google Search
We Google everything. Lawyers are no different.
Searching for a lawyer on Google will yield you more results than you can ever need.
Try narrowing your search results down to a handful of law firms that are close to you, then check out their websites. While the websites of all lawyers are full of fluff and self-promotion, you can gain an insight into the lawyer’s accomplishments and personality.
In 2019, a lawyer that cannot bother to create a professional looking website may be someone you want to avoid; either they aren’t making enough money to create one, or they don’t care enough to properly represent themselves.
Tip: Stay away from sites like Avvo. It is free for lawyers to make a profile, but to be prominently featured, lawyers must pay a significant sum of money. These types of sites rather you pick a lawyer that is paying them to be listed than the lawyer that is best for you.
Ask for Recommendations on Facebook
If you’re on Facebook, and don’t mind your friends knowing that you need a lawyer, try creating a post looking for recommendations.
You’ll be surprised how large your network is and how many personal recommendations you’ll receive.
Just make sure to vet those lawyers recommended to you.
Interview Your Potential Lawyer
Not all lawyers are the same. And you don’t have to pick the first one you call.
Take the time to interview your potential lawyer. Ask the questions that are important to you. Finding a lawyer is tough; finding the best lawyer for you is even tougher. An informal phone interview or in-office consultation is the best way to find a good fit.
Some lawyers charge consultation fees. If the consultation fee is high, you can bet that their hourly rates are going to be exorbitant.
Did You Find a Trustworthy Lawyer?
Your search for a trustworthy lawyer doesn’t have to stop once you find somebody. State attorney ethics rules give you the right to change your lawyer when you see fit.
If you aren’t happy with the lawyer that you found, you can request a copy of your file and leave to go to another lawyer.
If you decide to change lawyers, make your decision known in writing. Indicate that you are terminating the attorney client relationship and request a complete copy of your file. If you have a new lawyer already picked out, inform your old lawyer.
Finding a trustworthy lawyer can be a difficult task. There are so many lawyers that do the same thing that it can be difficult to differentiate between them.
We’ve hope we’ve provided some helpful advice to quicken your search. We also hope that finding the right lawyer will save you money; because we much rather spend our money on the next home project than give it to a lawyer.
If you are looking for more ways to save money, check out our article on saving money around the house.