How to find the best attorney in your area

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The question of how to find the best attorney in your area is not answered the same way for everyone

Should you compare lawyers and review articles about attorneys online to find the lawyer that is best for you?

Should you talk to friends and family to see what attorneys they have personally used before?

Who can you talk to if you are embarrassed about the legal situation?

Should you spend hours and hours looking at advertisement based attorney websites only to see that they are all the same?

The hunt to locate and find an attorney that can handle your case can be very difficult and time consuming. However effort spent at the beginning stages researching prospective attorneys can reduce financial hardship, emotional distress, and headache in the long run.

Follow these important steps to help answer your question of how to find the best attorney in your area or county:

Referrals

Personal referrals are one of the best forms of guidance to assist you on deciding how to find the best attorney in your area or city.  If others that you know such as family members, friends, or other professionals you trust give you a heads up with a recommended attorney then you should contact that attorney first and find out if they are a match for you.  But what if you do not know someone that has previously used a good criminal defense attorney? Or what if your situation is too embarrassing and you do not want your friends, family, or co-workers to know about the details? There is no quick one stop resource that you can go to to find out who is best serious felony defense lawyer. Even if there was, would you be willing to trust only one recommendation?

Employer Assistance Program

Does your employer offer discounted legal services through a lawyer referral program?  If so, it may provide you with a free or reasonably priced initial consult with an attorney to get an idea to see if your situation is worth the next step in pursuing your legal interests.

Online Recommendation Services

Many websites are available that will match you to a qualified local attorney that is equipped with the expertise to handle your case, but do you really trust the site provider to give you credible information that is not tainted with whichever attorney has the largest advertising budget?  There are online referrals and reviews of attorneys available; however, they have to be scrutinized by you to determine whether these are simply pay for advertising referrals or truly former client reviewed postings about the attorneys.  Many websites will allow their contributors to be ranked higher on the page and in bold or flashy font for a premium fee, but how do you know without spending hours comparing the various sites. Truthfully, there is no good answer on how to find the best attorney in your area but when utilizing all these sources in conjunction you will be ahead of the curve in selecting a good lawyer that fits your needs.  Look at several sites and even the law firm’s web page as well to form a combined opinion of the lawyer and the quality of legal services they provide.

Experience

It is easy enough to find out how long the attorney has been licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina by simply going visiting the NC State Bar website and looking up the specific attorney, but just because a lawyer has been licensed for 20 years does not mean they have the experience of zealously advocating your legal interests in a jury trial.

Questions such as these should be asked during the initial consult with the attorney to assist you in determining how to find the best attorney in your area or town:

What experience do you have in handling matters like mine?

Do you carry malpractice insurance?

Can you provide me a reference from a former client?

What kinds of trials have you been the lead defense attorney?

Communication

One of the most common complaints from clients is that their attorney does not keep them informed.  Attorneys are generally busy individuals attempting to be here, there, and everywhere.  Lawyers are frequently in court hearings, depositions, or conferences with other clients, judges, or attorneys.  It is not uncommon for you to call the attorneys office and not be able to speak directly with the lawyer.  But, finding out how the attorney handles such situations is very important.  You are likely to be professionally involved with this attorney for a considerable portion of the foreseeable future.  You are going to have questions that you want answered five minutes ago so knowing how your lawyer handles your needs is very crucial to selecting the right attorney.

Some questions you should ask may include:

Will the attorney call you back the same day that you leave them a message?

Is there additional fees associated if you contact the attorney outside of standard business hours?

Can you email the attorney directly?

What if there is an emergency and you need contact the attorney on the weekends?

What technology does the law firm use to assist with communication between attorney and client?

Does the law firm and / or the attorney utilized online web based attorney – client communication portals?

Location

Location of the attorneys office is not as important as it used to be.   Many attorneys that practice in less populated areas normally travel to neighboring counties or judicial districts to practice law so that in and of itself should not be enough to exclude prospective counsel.  The important thing is that the attorney is knowledgeable with how cases similar to yours are handled in the court and court where they legal case will be litigated?

However, there are still some situations in which retaining local counsel from the area is highly preferred.  I almost always advise family law clients to seek local counsel from the same judicial district in which the action will occur.  It is very important in domestic cases such as child custody actions for the attorney to know the Judges well.  I am not saying this to be inferred as “country-club politics” or the “good ol boy network” but rather that it is extremely important for the attorney to know how the District Court Judge thinks, how the Judge tends to rule in similar cases, and how the Judge is likely to consider the evidence and testimony that you will be presenting in your case.

Attorney fees

Clearly the legal fees associated with your case are important; however, they alone should not be the deciding factor in guiding your decision.

On deciding how to find the best attorney in your area you may want to ask questions of the attorney such as:

Is there a written fee agreement that I can review before retaining your services?

Are there additional charges for expenses incurred and if so are those expenses billed with additional mark up to me?

Will I be billed for e-mails and telephone calls with other persons in the firm?

How frequently will I be billed?

How much notice will I receive before additional monies are required of me?

Personality

Find an attorney that has similar personalities.  If you choose an attorney that is completely opposite from you then you are going to have a hard time discussing with them the intricate and personal details of your case.

Comfort

You should feel comfortable with the lawyer that you choose to hire.  It should be someone in which  you have an open relationship with because if you are unable to discuss your case comfortably, openly, honestly, and completely then the lawyer can not fully assist you.  It is a necessity that the attorney know all the pertinent information about your case.


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written by Jon Welborn

Jon is an experienced trial attorney with over 10 years litigating a variety of cases in all NC Trial Courts. Recently Jon announced his candidacy as a NC Superior Court Judicial Candidate in the 22B Judicial District. To find out more visit his campaign site at http://welbornforjudge.com.


For additional information on how to find the best attorney in your area for speeding tickets traffic violations read more here

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