How to Search Attorneys Before Hiring Them

Finding an attorney who is qualified to help you with your legal problem is an important step in any legal case. Many people find attorneys through referral services, attorney directories, or by asking family, friends, and co-workers for recommendations. You can also run an attorney search in a trusted online database like LegalZoom. This allows you to view vetted attorneys by practice area and location, and read client reviews of the attorney.

Regardless of the method you use to find an attorney, once you have a list of prospective lawyers, start interviewing them. Treat each meeting as you would a job interview, and pay attention to the chemistry between you and the lawyer. If you do not feel comfortable with the attorney or feel they aren’t listening to your needs, look elsewhere.

Make sure the attorney is licensed search attorneys to practice law in your state before hiring them. You can do this by searching your state’s supreme court’s online attorney directory. You can also visit the lawyer’s website and review their background information. Many attorneys will have their licensing status and bar certification listed on their website, along with their education and work history. You can also search the attorney’s name on Martindale-Hubbell to see if there are any public disciplinary decisions against them.

It is also a good idea to ask your potential attorney how they will handle your case and what their fees are. Some attorneys charge hourly, while others offer flat fee pricing. You can also research the type of legal issue you have to see what other lawyers are charging for similar cases.

Before you hire an attorney, make a list of questions that you have and keep notes as you interview them. This will allow you to remember everything that was said and to make a more educated decision about which one to hire. If you are not satisfied with your choices, you may be able to seek out local governmental or nonprofit resources for criminal defense aid, or choose to represent yourself. However, it is generally ill-advised to try to represent yourself in a criminal case.