Three Steps to Finding the Right Attorney for Your Case
How to Find the Right Attorney
When the carelessness of another causes you injury, or when you suffer losses due to breach of contract, or when it just “looks like court” – you may ask yourself, “How do I find the right attorney?”
As practicing attorneys, we litigate various different kinds of cases, including many admiralty and maritime cases, but we also spend time assisting people in finding the right attorney for their specific legal issue when we cannot represent them. We are not, for example, competent to handle a divorce or child custody case. We would not know how to advise a client faced with criminal charges, other than refer her to a good criminal lawyer. When callers inquire about tax or bankruptcy law issues, we assess the circumstances and try to refer them to the right lawyer for their needs. After many years of assisting clients, former clients, and potential clients in finding the right attorney to handle their case, we have come up with a few suggestions for those who are searching:
Know What General Area of the Law Your Case Involves
First, if possible, identify and research the general area of law involved in your situation. Read, learn, and make notes. Use the internet. It is vital in choosing the right attorney to know generally which area of the law applies. For example, if you need representation involving a boating accident, then you will likely want to consult with maritime attorneys to assess your case. If, on the other hand, you need a will or trust document drafted, then you would want to consult with attorneys who practice estate planning. It is also important to realize that there may be Court imposed or practical deadlines for action, so limit the time you allow for this step.
Ask for Suggestions From People You Know and Trust
Second, ask for suggestions. If they have had similar legal matters, ask family, friends, or acquaintances for suggestions of attorneys who practice in the general area of law that you need counsel on. Ask for suggestions from attorneys who practice in other areas of the law, but who may know the top practitioners in the area needed. Ask for suggestions from legal organizations, or bar associations. Ask for suggestions from insurance, accounting, or other professionals who deal with attorneys who practice in the area needed. Make a list of prospective attorneys, rank them, and narrow it down.
Meet With the Attorney and See if They are a Good Fit
Third, interview your top candidate on the short list of prospective attorneys, keeping in mind the seven characteristics of the right attorney. If the first candidate exhibits the seven characteristics and you feel comfortable and confident that this attorney is a “good fit” for you and your situation, and if he or she will take your case, hire him or her. If not, ask her why not, make notes, and ask for referrals to several other potential attorneys in the area. Add them to your list, revise the rankings, and interview the top candidate.
Finally, if you are having trouble locating a lawyer to assist with your legal problem or are just confused about which area of the law applies to your case, then feel free to contact us for assistance. If we cannot help you, we will try to find someone who can.
Disclaimers – The rules governing the professional conduct of lawyers mandate that we let you know the following information to prevent any confusion or misunderstandings about the content of this article:
The above information is provided for the reader’s general knowledge only and is not intended to be legal advice for anyone’s particular situation. The law is ever-changing, and different circumstances may require the application of different law or result in the above guidelines being irrelevant. If you have legal questions related to this content, you should consult an attorney of your choosing for advice regarding your individual situation.
Each case that we work on is different, and successful results that we may discuss related to cases that we have handled in the past do not mean that similar results are necessarily achievable in future cases that we may handle.
John Townsend Cooper is the attorney responsible for this content. His office is located at 1476 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464.
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