have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against
you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford
an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you."
US Miranda rights.
people don't have a lawyer in the family or a bevy of high power legal eagles
at their disposal. They search for legal representation by looking in the yellow
pages or turning to one of those law firms with the television advertisements
promising to "make the guilty party pay."
Formula for Finding A Good Lawyer
The best strategy for locating a good lawyer isn't much different from the approaches
most consumers use to find a good dentist, doctor, mechanic, contractor, plumber
or other professional service.
first goal is to get three names. Start by calling your area's bar association since most bar associations have a lawyer-reference service which can supply you
with the names of lawyers who handle your type of case," says Carl T. Bogus,
professor of law at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.
Around or Let Your Fingers Do The Walking
can also use the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory which is found in most libraries
and or its Lawyer
Locator service which is on the World Wide Web.
directory has white pages which list lawyers in specific geographic areas, the
types of cases they handle and it supplies you with their biographies, too. Keep
in mind that although firms pay to be listed in these white pages, many of the
best lawyers are in this directory. A lot of the ambulance-chasing attorneys simply
can't afford to be listed," says Bogus.
addition to the white pages, there are blue pages in the beginning of the directory
where lawyers are rated according to their competence and ethics.
Recommendations May Not Work Out
wary of word-of-mouth recommendations, advises Bogus. "Clients can tell you
if they're happy but they usually don't know how well the lawyer handled
the matter. For example, maybe the lawyer got a $50,000 recovery when it should
have been a $100,000 recovery or maybe only a $20,000 recovery."
For An Appointment - Make Sure There's No Charge
you narrow your list down to three lawyers, call each of them
to see if you can come to the lawyer's office and discuss your case. Let the lawyer
know that you are meeting with other lawyers, too.
Here are some questions you shouldn't be shy about asking each lawyer...
How long have you practiced law? What portion of your practice is devoted
to handling this type of case? How many of these cases have you handled? What
is your philosophy for handing this matter? What gained or lost by going to court?
much will this cost? How will you bill me? Most lawyers bill hourly or on
a contingency basis, which is usually 25-40 percent of the recovery.
will work on my case? If it will be an associate or if most of your interaction
will be with a paralegal assistant, ask to speak with that person and ask the
clear and straight forward is the lawyer? What's the chemistry like? Is he or
she able to explain things to you in a clear way or is the lawyer being evasive?
As your matter proceeds, your lawyer will have to explain to you what he or she
is doing and why. If the lawyer can't explain things to you at the start, it's
not going to get any better.
notes at each meeting and clarify any points that you don't understand. You'll
want to have a written record of what each lawyer said in order to review your
options when you are finished with all of the initial consultations.
An Informed Decision
jump to the conclusion that the lawyer that is the most optimistic is the one
you should hire. Most lawyers are eager to bring in new business and that puts
them in the position of having to sell themselves and their firm. A good sales
pitch does not guarantee a good outcome.
be pressured into making snap decisions. After you have spoken to the three lawyers
you originally chose take your notes and review what each offers. If you need
any additional questions answered, follow up with a phone call to make sure you
have a clear idea of what to expect. Once you've committed, it will be difficult
to change lawyers. You may not have a lawyer in the family, but you can make sure
that the lawyer you choose will represent you as if you were related!
This article is based on a press release provided by Newswise.
finding legal advice & hiring lawyers around the Web:
To Hire An Attorney - Step by step guide to what to look for and what to avoid, including tips on how to negotiate fees, getting referrals, why you should avoid the 800-number commercials, and more, with related resources.
Lawyers.com - Online database to find more than a million lawyers worldwide searchable by country, city, or area of practice.