how do you find a good lawyer that really has your back and isnt just along for the ride

by Verner Kerluke 9 min read

Check your potential lawyer’s reputation. “Many cases are won, and lost, on the reputations of the lawyers involved,” attorney Rice tells Reader’s Digest. “ In the courtroom, if your lawyer has an outstanding reputation, the judge may give your case some deference, for example.”

Full Answer

How do I find a good lawyer in my area?

Sep 09, 2019 · 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.

How do I find a lawyer who has been disciplinary?

Oct 05, 2011 · You can also try your state or local bar association's lawyer referral service. This will at least provide you with local attorneys who practice in …

How to choose an attorney for a case?

Sep 04, 2020 · You can run an attorney search at databases such as Avvo and Martindale Hubbell, which provide information such as practice areas, location, disciplinary records, and lawyer reviews. You might also consult your local or state bar association’s attorney directory, which is a list of lawyers in your area.

How do I choose the best family lawyer?

Dec 14, 2012 · 1. Determine what type of attorney you need. It is always preferable to locate an attorney who has specialized expertise in the practice area that your case involves (e.g., malpractice law, bankruptcy law, etc.). It’s also a good idea to find attorney familiar with the courts and laws of the area where you live.

How do I know if my lawyer is good?

So if you're curious, use these five quick ways to research whether your lawyer is legit:State Bar Profile. Every lawyer who is licensed to practice law in your home state must be listed in your state bar association's directory. ... Google / Search Engines. ... Yelp. ... The Attorney's Own Website. ... Third-Party Rating Groups.Sep 18, 2014

What is the most common complaint against lawyers?

Perhaps the most common kinds of complaints against lawyers involve delay or neglect. This doesn't mean that occasionally you've had to wait for a phone call to be returned. It means there has been a pattern of the lawyer's failing to respond or to take action over a period of months.

What are the easiest things to sue for?

The law must support your contention that you were harmed by the illegal actions of another.Bad Debt. A type of contract case. ... Breach of Contract. ... Breach of Warranty. ... Failure to Return a Security Deposit. ... Libel or Slander (Defamation). ... Nuisance. ... Personal Injury. ... Product Liability.More items...

What should you not say to a lawyer?

9 Taboo Sayings You Should Never Tell Your LawyerI forgot I had an appointment. ... I didn't bring the documents related to my case. ... I have already done some of the work for you. ... My case will be easy money for you. ... I have already spoken with 5 other lawyers. ... Other lawyers don't have my best interests at heart.More items...•Mar 17, 2021

What is unethical for a lawyer?

Attorney misconduct may include: conflict of interest, overbilling, refusing to represent a client for political or professional motives, false or misleading statements, knowingly accepting worthless lawsuits, hiding evidence, abandoning a client, failing to disclose all relevant facts, arguing a position while ...

How do you know if a lawyer is scamming you?

Some common signs of a scam include:Payment needs to happen quickly. You can't ask questions or get clarification.It's an emergency. Someone may threaten you or your loved ones.Requests for money usually happen over text, email or phone.The person contacting you is not someone you recognize.Mar 29, 2021

Can I sue for emotional distress?

The courts recognize emotional distress as a type of damage that can be recovered through a civil lawsuit. This means you can sue someone for emotional trauma or distress if you can provide evidence to support your claims.

How do you stop someone from suing you?

Ten common sense ways to avoid being suedMaintain good communications. ... Avoid giving false expectations. ... Make the client make the hard decisions. ... Document your advice and the client's decisions. ... Don't initiate hostilities against the client. ... Avoid, or handle with care, the borderline personality client.More items...

Should you tell someone you're suing them?

Usually, the defendant knows about the case a long time before it starts. Hopefully you talked to the defendant and tried to settle the case before you filed. But, now that you filed the lawsuit, you have to let the defendant know formally that you are suing. This is called "service".

Is it normal to not hear from your lawyer?

Throughout the process of getting your financial settlement after becoming injured, there may be periods of time that you do not hear from your attorney. Although this can be unnerving, it is a normal part of the legal process.Oct 25, 2018

Should you tell your lawyer everything?

You should always tell your lawyer everything. If you go to trial, the information you are hiding could come out during the trial. If your attorney does not know about it, the attorney cannot properly represent you.

Why do lawyers ignore you?

There's bad news your attorney doesn't want to deliver. If your attorney is not experienced or efficient, they may have missed a deadline or made another mistake and aren't willing to confess their error. There could also be some bad news that is entirely outside of the attorney's control.Mar 29, 2021

Tap Your Network

Ask around among your family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to see if they know of any attorneys they could recommend. Personal references can be some of the most reliable references you will find.

Do Some Research

You can run an attorney search at databases such as Avvo and Martindale Hubbell, which provide information such as practice areas, location, disciplinary records, and lawyer reviews.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lawyer

Now that you have some attorney options, it’s time to choose. To get you started, here’s a list of questions to ask an attorney before hiring them:

More Considerations When Hiring a Lawyer

One way to get a feel for an attorney’s practice is to be observant when you go for your first consultation.

The first thing you need to do is find a good lawyer. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

You only have one chance to win your case. Having the right lawyer protect your rights is critical to your success.

Approach No. 1- Personal Referrals From Qualified Sources

First of all, keep in mind that the right lawyer for you is someone who not only can provide you with the correct answers to all 9 of these questions. It is also someone you are comfortable with and who you can trust.

Approach No. 2- Visit These Websites

If you are unable to get a personal referral from a trusted friend or professional acquaintance, go to the Martindale-Hubbell ( martindale.com ), American Association for Justice ( justice.org ), The National Trial Lawyers ( thenationaltriallawyers.com) or AVVO ( avvo.com) web sites and do a search for the type of lawyer you need.

Approach No. 3- Contact Your Local Attorney Organization (Bar)

Another good way to find an experienced lawyer is to contact the local bar association (the local lawyer organization) in the town or area were you need legal help. This is a great way to find a lawyer in another state.

Final Tips

1. Just because someone “knows” and shares the name of a lawyer with you doesn’t mean that lawyer is any good at practicing law or trying cases. Use the above steps to investigate further.

What is a family law attorney?

Family law attorneys handle matters such as separation, divorce, pre-nuptial agreements, adoption, guardianship, child custody and support. Personal injury law. Personal injury attorneys handle cases involving medical malpractice, dog bites, car accidents and any injury to a person that may be the fault of another.

How many years of experience do I need to become an attorney?

Typically, you should look for an attorney with at least three to five years of experience practicing the type of law you need help with. Additionally, you should choose an attorney that currently practices in the area you need help with.

Do attorneys charge for consultations?

Most attorneys do consultation appointments for free. However, some may charge a small fee for a consultation. Make certain that you know whether you will be charged, and don't make an appointment with an attorney who isn't forthcoming about these details. Most attorneys offer consultations for free.

What is hourly rate in law?

Lawyers charging an hourly rate “bill” hours and then charge the client for the amount of hours worked on the client’s matter. Usually, hourly rates are used by businesses and corporations who may be involved in litigation. Additionally, individuals may be charged hourly rates for long or complicated litigation. ...

What is an engagement letter?

This is a contract between you and your attorney that defines the nature of the legal engagement you are involved in, and the conditions and terms of your agreement with your attorney.

How to find a lawyer for a lawsuit?

Here are a few other sources you can turn to for possible candidates in your search for a lawyer: 1 The director of your state or local chamber of commerce may be a good source of business lawyers. 2 The director of a nonprofit group interested in the subject matter that underlies your lawsuit is sure to know lawyers who work in that area. For example, if your dispute involves trying to stop a major new subdivision, it would make sense to consult an environmental group committed to fighting urban sprawl. 3 A law librarian can help identify authors in your state who have written books or articles on a particular subject -- for example, construction law. 4 A women's or men's support group will probably have a list of well-regarded family and divorce lawyers.

What is Nolo lawyer directory?

Nolo offers a unique lawyer directory that provides a comprehensive profile for each attorney with information that will help you select the right attorney. The profiles tell you about the lawyer's experience, education, and fees, and perhaps most importantly, the lawyer's general philosophy of practicing law.

How much does a lawyer charge an hour?

Lawyers, of course, are prime sources of this information, but if you bought all the needed information at their rates -- $150 to $450 an hour -- you'd quickly empty your bank account.

Do lawyers work with you?

Fortunately, many lawyers will work with you to help you acquire a good working knowledge of the legal principles and procedures you need to deal with your problem at least partly on your own. If you are hoping to represent yourself and use a lawyer only for advice, make sure the lawyer is open to that type of set-up.

What is a lawyer referral service?

Lawyer referral services are another source of information. There is a wide variation in the quality of lawyer referral services, however, even though they are required to be approved by the state bar association. Some lawyer referral services carefully screen attorneys and list only those attorneys with particular qualifications and a certain amount of past experience, while other services will list any attorney in good standing with the state bar who maintains liability insurance. Before you choose a lawyer referral service, ask what its qualifications are for including an attorney and how carefully lawyers are screened.

What can a law librarian do?

A law librarian can help identify authors in your state who have written books or articles on a particular subject -- for example, construction law. A women's or men's support group will probably have a list of well-regarded family and divorce lawyers.

How to assess a lawyer's ability?

One of the best ways to assess a lawyer’s legal ability is by interviewing them. Most attorneys will provide an initial consultation—usually an hour or less—at no charge. Below are a few questions to consider: 1 What experience does the lawyer have in your type of legal matter? 2 How long have they been in practice? 3 What is their track record of success? 4 What percentage of their caseload is dedicated to handling your type of legal problem? 5 Do they have any special skills or certifications? 6 What are their fees and how are they structured? 7 Do they carry malpractice insurance? If so, how much? 8 Who else would be working on your case and what are their rates? 9 Do they outsource any key legal tasks for functions? 10 What additional costs may be involved in addition to lawyer fees (postage, filing fees, copy fees, etc.)? 11 How often will you be billed? 12 Can they provide references from other clients? 13 Do they have a written fee agreement or representation agreement? 14 How will they inform you of developments in your case?

What do lawyers know about other lawyers?

Lawyers know the skill and reputation of other lawyers. Attorneys may be able to provide information about a fellow lawyer that you may not find in a book or online, such as information about a lawyer’s ethics, competence level, demeanor, practice habits, and reputation.

What to do before hiring a lawyer?

Before hiring any lawyer, contact the lawyer disciplinary agency in your state to confirm that they are in good standing as a member of the bar. For an online listing of each state's lawyer disciplinary agency, review this directory of lawyer disciplinary agencies.

Think 'first chair' attorney

When it comes to legal fights, envision a one-on-one sport. Your opponent does it often. You never have, or maybe twice. So, you'll likely lose – making beginners’ mistakes your opponent doesn’t. For that reason, businesses often win against individuals – having built trial law muscle over decades.

Resources to find a lawyer

Still, prior subject expertise doesn’t hurt. If suing your broker, it’s handled via arbitration under the brokers’ self-regulatory organization, the misleadingly yet authoritatively sounding Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (also called FINRA). Your odds in FINRA arbitrations are good. They pay off often. Study FINRA’s website.

Warning signs of bad lawyers

If your lawyer candidate doesn’t warn you on how suing can backfire, run. If they claim they are the best around, they aren't. If their goal is extorting a pre-trial settlement go elsewhere and find a lawyer who is willing, if needed, to go all the way to a final judgment. Good ones will.

Area (s) and depth of expertise

Like many industries, the legal profession is now highly specialised. It is impossible for a single lawyer to be an expert in all things.

Commerciality

The ability to look at problems from a commercial perspective is not something that is taught at law school. And although many lawyers promote themselves as being ‘commercial’, very few truly are.

Cultural fit

You’re more likely to enjoy working with someone if there is a good cultural alignment.

Price

And finally, there is obviously the price. Lawyers are not cheap, particularly good ones.

So where to from here?

If you’ve made it to this point in this article, that suggests you’re in need of a good lawyer, but haven’t found one yet. Either that, or you’ve got too much time on your hands.

Approach No. 1- Personal Referrals from Qualified Sources

  • First of all, keep in mind that the right lawyer for you is someone who not only can provide you with the correct answers to all 9 of these questions. It is also someone you are comfortable with and who you can trust. If the attorney has made a good first impression with you, there’s a pretty good chance that he or she will also make a good first impression with the other side (insuranc…
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Approach No. 2- Visit These Websites

  • If you are unable to get a personal referral from a trusted friend or professional acquaintance, go to the Martindale-Hubbell (martindale.com), American Association for Justice (justice.org), The National Trial Lawyers (thenationaltriallawyers.com) or AVVO (avvo.com) web sites and do a search for the type of lawyer you need. The above sites primarily are focused on personal injury …
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Approach No. 3- Contact Your Local Attorney Organization

  • Another good way to find an experienced lawyer is to contact the local bar association (the local lawyer organization) in the town or area were you need legal help. This is a great way to find a lawyer in another state. Call the bar association and ask for the names and numbers of the past two presidents of that organization. Next, contact the law offices of these individuals and ask th…
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Final Tips

  • 1. Just because someone “knows” and shares the name of a lawyer with you doesn’t mean that lawyer is any good at practicing law or trying cases. Use the above steps to investigate further. 2. Regardless of who is recommended to you, make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer and able to “connect” with him or her. Some lawyers have dynamic personalities and are exciting to b…
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