How and when you need an attorney is generally unpredictable. There may not always be an emergency, but when the time comes to find legal counsel, you may be very overwhelmed and confused. Here are our tips for how to find an attorney to help with your legal issue:
(1) Start with Location
Attorneys with within jurisdictions, which can simply be divided by countries and states. But within jurisdictions, there are many courts. The first key to finding an attorney is knowing where you legal issues comes from. If you’re purchasing something, what county is it located in? If you’re served with court papers, what is the name of the court listed on the top of the page? If you were injured, where did it happen? Once you know where your legal issue is, then you know what ZIP Code to look for an attorney in.
(2) Narrow down the type of attorney that you need.
Not all attorneys are created equal and we’re certainly not qualified to practice every area of law. There are macro practices (like Criminal Defense, Plaintiff’s Attorney, Family Law and Civil Defense) and micro practices (like DUI Defense, Auto Injury Attorney, Collaborative Divorce, and Medical Malpractice Defense). Once you know the type of attorney that you need, you can start focusing on attorneys with similar skill sets and look for reviews for attorneys who do that type of work.
If you are injured physically or monetarily, you’re likely a plaintiff. If you’re being charge d with a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney. If you’re being sued, you probably need a civil litigator (or to contact your insurance company and they may provide an attorney). If you’re the victim of a crime, you don’t need an attorney, but you do need the local prosecutor to bring charges. It can get confusing. If you still don’t know, you may need to ask someone with legal knowledge (see #3).
(3) Ask Someone You Trust if They Know Any Attorneys
Ask your friend’s attorney friend or ask your friend for to ask the attorney for a referral. This is the best way to get a referral because an attorney is going to refer you to the person that they would use in your position. We may not personally know the best attorney, but we know who has the best reputation, and that’s who we are going to send you to.
(4) Pay the consultation fee for the highly referred attorney and go.
This sounds like a silly thing to tell you but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t listen to the recommendations of family and friends because the consultation isn’t free. I can tell you that very few attorneys are able to offer a free consultations. We bill hourly, and there are only so many hours in the day that we can bill. We budget our businesses by figuring out exactly how many hours are in a day in the work week, so it’s very difficult to offer free consultations. (Although Personal Injury attorneys like us generally offer free consultations). I know a few hundred dollars seems like you’re losing money, but during a consultation you do get legal advice and the answers to many questions. Once you pay, GO! You also be surprised to hear how many people do not come to consultation that they’ve paid for. The consultation is the key to the last step to determining who you’re going to hire.
(5) Trust your gut.
This is your life, your liberty, your livelihood. Don’t let someone else make the choice of who your attorney is. Any legal work can be a burden. You want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the person you’re going to be closely working with through the case. You need to feel like your attorney has your best interest in mind. Ask tough questions and hire who you know is going to work with you not against you.
As always, if we can help, just call.