Finding the right attorney can seem overwhelming at times. There are a lot of attorneys out there! How do you know which one to hire?
As I explained in my previous blog post, there are 9 traits which every attorney should have. Use these 6 steps to find and hire a great lawyer with those 9 attributes.
Step 1: Legal Specialty.
Determine what type of attorney you need. If you were in a car accident, you probably need a personal injury lawyer. If you need a Living Trust, look for an estate planning attorney. You want to focus your search on an attorney specializing in that particular area of the law.
Step 2: Referrals.
Once you know the type of attorney you are looking for, ask family members, friends, co-workers, and other professionals for a referral. Don't just get the attorney's name and phone number; ask your source why he recommends that attorney and whether he would use that attorney again. If you come up empty in your quest for referrals, you can check with your local bar association. Many bar associations have attorney referral services which can give you a starting point in your search.
Step 3: Internet Search.
Do a Google search. It still amazes me how many clients find me through an internet search. You can search for an attorney near you who has experience with your legal issue. For example, you can do a Google search for "estate planning attorney in Lakewood, Ohio." Keep in mind that the attorneys at the top of the page are the ones who have paid to be listed first. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are great attorneys.
Step 4: Background Check.
Once you have the names of some possible attorneys, check them out. Do a background check online. Look for client reviews -- do the attorneys have any online reviews? If so, what do the reviews say? Go to the attorneys' websites, social media sites, and LinkedIn pages. Do you like what you see? What are the attorneys' ratings and reviews on Avvo? Have any of the attorneys ever been disciplined? You can find out if an attorney has been sanctioned by doing a search on the Ohio Supreme Court website.
Step 5: Interview.
Once you have narrowed your search to 2-3 attorneys, it is important to do a phone or in-person interview with each attorney to see which attorney you want to hire. You want an attorney who provides excellent customer service and knows how to help you, so ask very specific questions, such as:
What is the attorney's experience? Does the attorney know how to help with your issue? Will you be working directly with the attorney on your matter, or only with the attorney's assistant or secretary? What is the attorney's policy on returning phone calls and replying to emails? Does the attorney make it a regular practice to keep her clients informed on the progress of their cases? How does the attorney charge for her legal services -- hourly fee, flat fee, contingent fee, or other? What retainer will be required? Does the attorney have the time to take your case?
Step 6: Hire.
With all this information you have gathered, you should be able to pick and hire the attorney who is right for you.