“We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice.”
One of the biggest concerns – in these times when the law, and the benefit of it, are crucial – is how to find the right or perfect lawyer for a certain circumstance. And this is really important, because really can save you a lot of stress. Most of the time, look for information, consult people who know or approach it. It is the same process when we are looking for a lawyer.
Finding a good lawyer is never going to be an “easy task”. Even if you know a good group of lawyers they might not specialize in the area of law you require. Whatever type of dispute you find yourself involved in, from personal injury to real estate, finding the right attorney is crucial for the outcome of the case.
But, what are the basic steps someone should follow to find a lawyer?
The first step in finding a lawyer is determining what type of case you have. Lawyers are not “one size fits all.” The law is vast, and attorneys specialize in various areas of law. Make sure you select an attorney who specializes in the right area of law.
The client should make a small list of priorities or needs, based on the following parameters:
– What kind of lawyer do I look for?
– What is the basis of the problem or conflict?
– How does each lawyer specialize?
– What are my priorities?
– What information do I have regarding to the lawyer or his law firm?
These would be small points that would help you start. But it does not end there, after that; there is another selection process that we should not ignore. The most important thing will always be for the attorney to satisfy the needs that you have as a costumer.
A simple online search using Google or a lawyer directory will likely show you attorney reviews, which can help you determine who you want to hire.
For those who don’t speak English try searching online for the attorney in your native language, chances are that you may find one in your city who is fluent.
Latino immigrants are one of the most underrepresented communities because they can’t afford a lawyer or don’t speak English. The lawyer directory Lista Legal is great place to look for an attorney who speaks Spanish anywhere in the United States.
If you know the name or license number of a particular attorney, you can also check to see whether any disciplinary action has been taken against, which may factor into your decision.
When you decide the lawyer that you need, most attorneys will provide an initial consultation, it usually takes an hour or even less, at no charge. This is the time to determine if the attorney is dependable, trustworthy, ethical and shares every characteristic that a good lawyer should have. Below you can find a few good questions to consider when you have that meeting:
– How long have you been in practice?
– Talk to me about the experience that you have in that specific type of legal matter?
– The track record of success.
– What percentage of your caseload is dedicated to handling your type of legal problem?
– Special skills or certifications.
– Do you carry malpractice insurance? If so, how much?
– Who else would be working on the case?
– Additional costs (postage, filing fees, copy fees…)
– Can you provide me references from other clients?
Some people prefer an initial phone call because it’s quicker and easier to narrow down potential attorneys, while others prefer a face-to-face consultation. Most attorneys will respond to phone calls within 24 hours of receiving a message, but sit-down appointments may not always be as quickly available.
Also you can try: ask references to the same lawyers. Lawyers perfectly know the skill and reputation of other lawyers. Attorneys may be able to provide information about one 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.
Sometimes, people are more worry about how to find the cheapest lawyer. Cheap and free alternatives exist, but finding them can be a trial. Below are some tips that you may use:
- Look to legal aid societies.
- Visit a law school.
- Contact your county or state bar association.
- Go to small claims court.
- Try pricing attorneys.
- Represent yourself in court.
What happens if you can’t afford an attorney? This means that a court may be required to appoint a lawyer to represent you for free – or for a fee you can afford – if the crime you are charged with carries a jail sentence. According to the federal constitution, a defendant has a right to an attorney before being punished by imprisonment.
But, it´s very important that you know: before hiring any lawyer, you should always contact the lawyer disciplinary agency in your state to confirm that they are in good standing. You should always check references, especially if you located the attorney through the Internet.
You also need to request a brief tour of his office or conference room where you will have the meetings. Try to always check: is the law office neat, orderly, efficient and well-run? Does staff appear friendly and helpful? Is the lawyer’s office local and easily accessible?
If you follow these steps, we are absolutely sure you can get a lawyer with the legal skills and personal qualities that you need, and trust 100 percent on your decision.