You’ve decided you need a lawyer but aren’t sure where to find the right one.
This section offers tips on choosing a lawyer and questions to ask during your first meeting.
With some research, you can hire an experienced lawyer to assist you.
But how do you find the right lawyer when you don’t have a “regular” one like you have doctors you see annually? Where can you get recommendations?
What should I look for when choosing a lawyer?
Your lawyer should make you feel comfortable enough to openly share all necessary facts to solve your problem.
No external advice can guarantee the best lawyer for you; you must assess that yourself.
Are there any practical considerations to keep in mind when choosing a attorney?
Consider the lawyer’s expertise and experience.
Some states certify lawyers as specialists, and various legal specialties have their certification programs.
Ask about the types of cases they handle and their practice breakdown.
Remember, many lawyers aren’t certified but may still be experts in their field, especially if they handle many cases in that area.
Also, factor in office location, fees, and case duration when choosing a lawyer.
Where should I start to look for a lawyer?
There are many ways to find a reliable lawyer.
One of the best is a recommendation from a trusted friend, relative, or business associate.
Be aware, however, that each legal case is different and that a lawyer who is right for someone else may not suit you or your legal problem.
Are advertisements a good place to look for a lawyer?
Ads can be useful in introducing lawyers and their areas of expertise, but be cautious.
Don’t believe everything in ads, as they can be misleading.
They can help you identify potential attorney for your needs and provide fee estimates, but make sure to clarify what’s included in those fees.
Your case may not be as straightforward as described in the ads.
What about a local referral service?
Communities have lawyer referral services, often listed in the yellow pages under “attorney Referral Service” or a similar name.
These services recommend lawyers in your area based on your situation.
Some specialize in assisting specific groups like the elderly, immigrants, domestic violence victims, or individuals with disabilities.
Local bar associations also offer referrals based on the area of law you need, ensuring you find a attorney with the right expertise.
Some have competency requirements for lawyers in specific fields.
Look up your local bar association in the white pages or online through search engines or the ABA’s directory.
Some may refer lawyers without considering their experience.
Consider using a lawyer referral service that complies with ABA quality standards for better results.
I have been accused of a crime, and I cannot afford a lawyer. What can I do?
The U.S. Constitution ensures your right to a lawyer if you’re accused of a crime carrying a potential six-month or longer prison sentence.
State constitutions may offer similar rights for lesser offenses.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, either a appointed private attorney or a government public defender will represent you for free.