Finding a lawyer can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. There are many helpful ways to find a reliable lawyer, so long as you know where to look. While phone books and local ads may provide basic information - such as an attorney's name, phone number, and office location -- these resources are often limited in the depth of information it provides.Therefore, the best way to locate a lawyer in your area may be to access one of the following methods.
Friends and relatives can be a great way to find a knowledgeable attorney in your area. Not only can they recount first-hand experience with the attorney, they can give you insight on the attorney's business practices, mannerisms, and handling of fees. Keep in mind, however, that your legal issue may be different than your family member's case, which may affect whether your friend or family member's attorney is right for you. However, it's a start. And your friend or family member's attorney can possibly point you to another lawyer in his or her network if necessary.
FindLaw's Lawyer Directory is one of several online legal directories that offer attorney listings across the U.S. As the premiere attorney search locator, FindLaw allows you to conveniently search for a lawyer by legal issue, location (i.e. state, county, city, and metro) and name. Moreover, FindLaw's directory is multidimensional to help you pinpoint relevant local attorneys, and also includes features that consumers care about, like descriptions of law firm practice area and easy links to attorney websites.
State Bar Associations can be a good way to locate a lawyer in your state. Most bar association's websites contain comprehensive listings of attorneys licensed to practice in the state at best. In most cases, you can search for lawyers by name, location, and legal practice area, but may also conduct more advanced searches, such as languages spoken.
In addition to state bar associations, most states have volunteer legal organizations that can lead you to a reliable lawyer. These organizations, which often include minority bar associations, legal aid societies, and others, might focus on representing a certain type of client, such as low-income, or particular legal focus, such as immigration or family law. You can often access the names of volunteer legal organizations through a state's bar association website.
Lawyer referral services can help direct you to lawyers in your area based on certain criteria, mainly practice area or special services, such as immigration, domestic violence or legal aid. Since lawyer referral services are similar to phone book listings, however, you may not receive information regarding the lawyer's experience or qualification levels. As such, you may wish to cross-check attorney names through the State bar or some other lawyer referral service that provides a better perspective of a lawyer's background.
Advertisements about a lawyer's services that you read and hear in newspapers, billboards, and on the radio may provide some useful leads to attorneys in your area, but you may have to do some additional fact-finding to determine a lawyer's reputation and experience level. While it certainly doesn't hurt to contact a lawyer that you find through an advertisement, you should always be prepared to ask some important questions during the "interview" with the lawyer.
For savvy internet searchers, you may be able to pinpoint a lawyer in your area by typing in certain keywords in your favorite search engine. Keep in mind, however, that there is no filtering of internet searches and you'll probably have to sift through multiple websites one by one to find a lawyer. Furthermore, since anyone can set up a web page, it may be hard to tell the quality or reliability of the attorney from a web page alone.
Once, you're ready to start contacting your list or lawyers, you may wish to read the following beforehand:
Lastly, after you've found a lawyer to work with, you should research the attorney's discipline record and investigate whether the attorney is currently eligible to practice law.