The average person doesn’t have a lawyer on speed dial. When it comes time to hire an attorney, most people can be a little hesitant or uncertain about how to proceed.
When so many attorneys are practicing law, selecting the right one — one you can trust — is usually not a simple task. But it doesn’t have to be a point of contention or friction. You simply need to know how and where to look.
Three Tips for Finding a Good Lawyer
There’s no such thing as scarcity in the legal world. Attorneys are a dime a dozen … particularly in major urban markets and active suburban communities.
There’s a major variation in the quality of lawyers you’ll find, though. Not everyone who passes the bar exam is necessarily qualified to help you with your legal needs.
Technical accomplishments aside, you need a good lawyer: someone you can put your trust in to help you accomplish your objectives or defend your rights. Without making the matter too complicated, here are some helpful tips for finding the right lawyer for your situation.
1. Ask for Referrals
Start the process by asking around for referrals. Depending on the type of lawyer you’re looking for, you may have acquaintances within your personal or professional networks who have experience working with attorneys.
They may include friends, neighbors, colleagues, or relatives. When you obtain a referral from someone, give weight according to the individual providing the recommendation.
If it’s a neighbor you barely know — and maybe has a reputation for making questionable decisions — you’ll probably want to take his referral with a grain of salt. If, on the other hand, your mentor of 10 years gives you the business card of her personal lawyer, you can be pretty certain you’re getting a solid name. In other words, use your common sense!
2. Do Some Online Research
In addition to soliciting referrals from your network, it’s smart to go online and do a little research. Not only will you find more information on the lawyers recommended to you, but you’re also likely to run across a handful of names you didn’t previously know.
As you conduct your online research, pay careful attention to:
- Content. Any decent law firm will have a blog on its website. Take the time to review the blog and get an idea of how the team thinks, what niches the in-house attorneys focus on, and who their target clients are. Take the McKinney, Tucker & Lemel blog as an example. Notice how it focuses on South Carolina driving laws, car accidents, and personal injury cases. Are these specialties relevant to your needs? If so, you may want to contact them to learn more. If not, move down the list and find an attorney that meets your requirements more closely.
- Reviews. It doesn’t take much to find out what past and current clients think of their attorneys. There are dozens of independent websites that allow people to post reviews and ratings. Read as much of this information as you can find to get a better idea of who these lawyers are.
If you take the time to study an attorney’s blog and read independent reviews and testimonials, you should gain insights into which attorneys care about their clients and which are mostly posturing.
3. Ask the Right Questions
When you sit down for an initial consultation, bring a notepad and ask intelligent questions, such as:
- How many cases like mine have you handled in the past two years? What were the outcomes?
- Have you ever been subject to disciplinary action?
- What are your fees? How are they structured?
- What’s your current caseload? Do you have time to take on my case?
In addition to listening to what they say, listen to how they say it. You’ll get a feel for which ones are being honest and straightforward. From there, you can trust your gut to make an excellent choice.
Putting it All Together
Not all lawyers are created equal. If you want the best legal representation and advice, it’s necessary to take the time to identify an attorney who is experienced, trustworthy, and skilled.
If you do the proper research, you’ll ultimately find the right person for the role. In addition to enjoying better legal service, you’ll also experience an overwhelming sense of satisfaction when you know you carefully vetted and explored all of your options.