Finding a lawyer is easy. The United States has one attorney for every 200 residents.
But finding a good lawyer—and one that’s near you—is easier said than done. What defines a “good” attorney? We will touch on that later. As far as answering the question, “How do I find a good lawyer near me,” you want to work with experienced legal counsel that is licensed to practice law in the state where you live.
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you received a summons to appear in a Clark County, Nevada court and you live in Glendale, California, you want a Nevada-licensed attorney to represent you.
Let’s review how you can find a lawyer near you before defining what makes a good attorney.
How to Find an Attorney Near You
Before the Internet took off in the late 1990s, finding an attorney was as easy as letting your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages. In fact, the section of the Yellow Pages that was devoted to lawyers was the directory’s largest section.
In 2021, how to find an attorney near you includes one old-school method, as well as several ways that rely on digital technology.
Word of Mouth Referrals
Nothing beats the recommendation coming from a trusted friend, family member, or professional peer. Even a neighbor’s advice can help you connect with the best attorney for your case. If you cannot find a lawyer via a referral friend, relative, or co-worker, ask an attorney that you know for a referral. The lawyer does not have to practice the type of law that covers your case; all you need is a recommendation for an attorney that does practice the type of law you need for legal representation.
State Bar Association
Access your state bar association’s website and then utilize the website’s “Find a Lawyer” feature. Not only do you get a list of attorneys near you that practice the type of law that covers your case, but you also get to review the record of each attorney listed in the database. The American Bar Association offers a database that provides information concerning attorneys.
Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory
This directory is available for reference at your public library or the law library of a school near you. Considered an authoritative resource, the online lawyer locator service contains a large database of more than one million attorneys and law firms from nearly 160 countries.
The Internet offers several for-profit search tools to help you find an attorney that practices the same type of law that covers your legal case. For-profit means a website receives income for including lawyers and law firms in its database.
Here are a few sites that provide a lawyer search engine:
Legal Aid Services
If you need legal counsel, but cannot afford the services of an attorney, the nearest legal aid office can provide free or pro bono legal help. You have to qualify as a low-income American who earns less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Americans do not automatically get free legal services for non-criminal cases. However, there are numerous legal aid and pro bono programs that help low-income residents litigate cases in a civil courtroom.
5 Tips for Choosing a Good Lawyer
Just because there is one lawyer for every 200 residents in the United States does not mean that it is easy to find a good attorney near you. However, if you follow the following five tips, you should connect with the right legal counsel for your particular case.
Attorneys fresh out of law school typically handle less complex cases until they accumulate enough wins to move onto more difficult cases. Inexperienced lawyers work under the supervision of a much more experienced attorney. Unless you are fighting a couple of parking tickets or contesting a speeding citation, you want to hire a lawyer who has considerable experience handling your type of legal case.
Experienced lawyers bring the following positive attributes to the table:
- Placing a value on a settlement
- Negotiating with another lawyer or an insurance company
- Establishing professional relationships with judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys
- Selecting the most favorable jurors.
- Effective cross-examination of witnesses
- Make persuasive legal arguments
Area of Expertise
You expect a lawyer to have a firm grasp of the legal issues that concern your case. When we discuss expertise, we are talking about the type of law an attorney practices. For example, if your case involves a personal injury claim, you want to work with a personal injury lawyer, not an attorney who practices employment, family, or criminal defense law. Even better, if your case involves a personal injury lawsuit, you want the attorney that you hire to specialize in your type of personal injury claim. A personal injury claim that involves a motorcycle accident requires the legal expertise of a personal injury attorney who has handled many motorcycle accident cases.
Attorneys receive feedback about their performance from clients, peers, and judges. Bar association websites at the state and federal level present information about the record of every lawyer on your shortlist. When it comes to client feedback, going online to a site such as Yelp and Google can provide you with insight into the performance record of every attorney under consideration. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another valuable resource for establishing the professional reputation of a lawyer. You want to work with legal counsel that has earned the highest rating from the BBB, which is an A+.
This is not about how convincing your attorney is while arguing your case in a courtroom. We have already found an experienced lawyer who specializes in your type of legal case. Now, the time has come to analyze how a lawyer communicates with you.
Before you hire an attorney, you can expect to communicate with the lawyer several times by phone, email, and/or text message. This gives you the opportunity to determine how quickly an attorney responds to your questions. You do not want to work with a lawyer who takes more than 24 hours to get back to you. Preferably, you should receive a response on the same day that you ask a question.
Free Case Evaluation
Disregard any lawyer who wants you to pay a fee for a case evaluation. The attorney that you hire should offer to meet with you for free anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour to discuss the elements of your case. A free case evaluation not only demonstrates your potential legal counsel is more concerned about you than money; it also gives you a chance to determine whether there is a strong enough personal rapport to move forward.
Contact Morgan & Morgan for a Free Case Evaluation
Finding an attorney near you is just the first step. The most important step is determining if an attorney possesses the experience, expertise, and communication skills that you need for legal representation.
Contact Morgan & Morgan to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your case.