When you’re dealing with legal troubles you want to make sure you’ve got the top lawyers fighting for you. Here’s how to find and hire the right one!
Even if you’re a law-abiding citizen who is out to cause no man harm, it’s inevitable that you’ll need legal services sooner or later.
A reckless driver could ram into your rear on the highway, so you might need a personal injury lawyer to sue them for compensation. Or you could be planning to divorce your spouse and you need a divorce lawyer to handle the paperwork.
Regardless of the reason you’re seeking legal help, one objective is clear: finding a top lawyer.
But how do you find them?
Here is how to find and hire top lawyers in your area.
1. Know the Type of Lawyer You Need
Law, like medicine and engineering, is a profession that relies on specialization. This means, technically, there’s no such thing as a general lawyer.
Well, general practice lawyers exist, but settling for one will be like going to a general medical practitioner when you’re suffering from depression. Ultimately, the general practitioner will refer you to a mental health specialist.
As such, the first step to finding top lawyers is to identify your legal issues.
Facing deportation? An immigration lawyer is best suited to help you. A doctor misdiagnosed you? You need a medical malpractice lawyer
Looking to invest in a business? Focus on finding a business lawyer with experience handling capital contribution issues. Be sure to learn more about capital contribution before proceeding.
There are over 17 areas of legal practice, which certainly means there is a specialist lawyer for every unique legal issue you’re facing.
2. Get in Touch with Your Local Bar Association
In all 50 states and Washington, D.C., lawyers must gain admission to the state bar. Consequently, a lawyer can only practice in states where he or she is a member of the bar. Most lawyers practice in only one state.
This brings us to the next step in landing top lawyers: searching your (state) local bar association.
These associations represent lawyers in a specific state. If you live in South Carolina, for instance, contact the South Carolina Bar.
Associations typically have well-maintained and updated websites, getting in touch or accessing lawyer information shouldn’t be a problem. Search the association’s directory, and ensure you filter by practice area, as well as your ZIP code.
You will find names and contact details of all specialist lawyers who practice in your area.
Beyond local bar associations, there are other helpful websites that offer lawyer directories. LegalMatch and Avvo are prime examples.
3. Get Recommendations from People Close to You
The people close to us are a constant source of happiness, joy, and support.
However, it’s surprising how one can easily overlook their friends and family when looking for professional service providers. The truth is the top lawyers you’re looking for right now could be just a call, text message or e-mail away!
Therefore, ask your friends and relatives whether they have used legal help in the past few months. Don’t forget to specify the type of lawyer you’re looking for.
If a friend has worked with or knows someone who has worked with the type of lawyer you’re hunting, they won’t hesitate to give you their contact, especially if the lawyer did an excellent job.
4. Consider Experience and Reputation
While a local bar association and other directories and friends will give you a list of qualified lawyers in your area, they might not necessarily highlight their reputation and experience. It’s your job to dig deeper and know more about those lawyers.
Grab a pen and a notepad and draw a list of about 5 lawyers.
Next, go online and search for the names of these lawyers. If they have a solid online presence, their names along with the names of their law firms will appear among the top search results.
But having a law firm and a website alone isn’t enough. Dig further to find client reviews on review sites such as Better Business Bureau and Yelp.
Seeing lots of negative client reviews? You’re well advised to tick off the lawyer’s name from your list. Seeing positive reviews? You’re a step closer to finding the best lawyer.
5. Contact the Top Lawyers on Your List
Of course, it’s not prudent to immediately hire a lawyer because they were recommended by your best friend.
Sure, a recommended lawyer could tick all the right boxes: highly qualified, experienced, reputable, but they might not be a perfect fit. For instance, their legal charges could be prohibitive, or you could fail to establish a positive rapport with them.
This is why you should contact them and schedule a consultation. Such consultations are usually free.
When making initial contact, take note of how you’re received. If you called the office line, did someone pick up immediately? If not, did they get back you soon after? Clear communication is crucial to the success of any lawyer-client relationship, so you need to get the right impression from the start.
If you physically visited the office, look around. Is it clean and organized? How long does it take before you see the lawyer?
During the consultation, ask the following questions:
- What is your success rate? This should help you estimate your chances of winning a case
- How long will the case/work take? You don’t want to stick with a lawyer who will take forever to get the work done
- How many current clients do you have? Too many clients means the lawyer won’t have enough time to give your case the attention it deserves. Too few clients is a certain indicator the lawyer isn’t as competent as you thought or is new to the practice
- What’s your professional record? Go for a lawyer without any misconduct on their record
- How’s your pricing? Do they charge an hourly rate or a flat fee? Choose an appropriate one depending on your financial circumstances and the nature of the case.
These questions will help you narrow down your list to one or two lawyers. You’re free to go with either.
Finding Top Lawyers in Your Local Area Simplified
When you set out looking for a lawyer, you need a qualified and experienced professional you can count on to get the job done. Sometimes the stakes are just too high — you could be facing a huge fine or time behind bars.
Fortunately, with this guide, you’re in a strong position to not only find top lawyers near you, but also pick the best of the best.
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