How To Find A Lawyer When You Need One

When you need a lawyer, there are many things to consider. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire has experience with your type of case and is knowledgeable about how the law will apply in your specific situation. The first step toward finding a lawyer who is right for you is to understand what sort of legal issues people typically encounter and how they handle them.

How to Find a Good Lawyer
Key Takeaways
Identify your specific legal needs
Research the type of lawyer required
Consider affordability and explore pro bono services
Look for legal aid organizations if you have limited funds
Evaluate a lawyer’s experience and qualifications
Read reviews and seek referrals from trusted sources
Prepare questions for a consultation with potential lawyers
Focus on clear communication and establish expectations

1. Don’t Be Intimidated

You should not be afraid to ask questions and I’m talking about everything. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do you want an attorney who can help you with your case and make sure that the law is on your side? 

Do you want someone who will be there for support and answer all of the questions that have popped into your head since this whole thing started? Or do you just want someone who will sit back and let their name appear on all of the paperwork while they collect their check while leaving everything else up to chance?

This might seem harsh at first, but it isn’t meant that way. 

There are plenty of lawyers out there who would be happy to take your case for a flat rate or even no cost if they believe that they can help win or settle it favorably for both parties involved and there are many attorneys out there willing to work pro bono if doing so positively impacts society as a whole or a specific group of people (this includes veterans).

It’s also important not only from an ethical standpoint but from a practical one: You don’t want anyone working on something without knowing what’s going on every step along the way!

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2. Ask Around

The second step to finding a lawyer is to ask around. If you have friends, family, or neighbors who are lawyers, they may be able to recommend someone who specializes in the type of case you need help with. 

You should also consider asking your doctor or accountant if they know any good lawyers. Additionally, if you work for a large company then their human resources department might be able to provide some leads as well.

Finally, don’t forget about other professionals that might know of some good attorneys: 

Your insurance agent can recommend an attorney specializing in car accident cases; your financial advisor can suggest a lawyer with experience handling real estate closings, and even your banker might know someone who handles bankruptcy cases and could refer them over to help out!

3. Start At The State Bar Association

While the Internet is a great place to start your search, you may want to begin with the State Bar Association. The state bar association is usually well-informed about lawyers in your area and can help you narrow down your options based on experience, education, training, and other criteria. 

You can also find information about whether or not a lawyer has ever been disciplined by the state bar association’s disciplinary board.

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4. Do Your Research

Conducting research will help you narrow down your options, but don’t stop there! Once you’ve found a few lawyers that look promising, it’s time to ask for references. A good lawyer will be happy to provide recommendations from past clients and colleagues.

If the firm has an online presence, take some time to look around and see what other clients have said about them. You can also check out if they’re in any professional associations or if they’ve received any awards or accolades over the years. This kind of information helps paint an overall picture of the firm’s quality, which can help make your final decision.

5. Take Advantage Of The Linkedin

Use LinkedIn. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, they can be an excellent resource when it comes time to find one. One of the best ways to do this is by using LinkedIn:

Search for lawyers in your general area. You can use their search function and specify what kind of law or specialty interest you may have in mind the more specific you are, the better!

Look at their backgrounds and experience. Once you’ve searched for legal professionals in your area, check out each profile individually for more information about who they are and what kinds of experience they have had working as lawyers with other clients like yourself.

Look at their professional associations. Many attorneys belong (or belong once belonged) to professional associations that allow them access to continuing education programs that help them stay up-to-date with changes in laws over time so they know how those changes affect our daily lives. 

These types of courses also give us insight into what kinds of clients attorneys typically serve best (i.e., myself), which makes choosing between different firms much easier than before because now we understand why some might seem like better fits than others based on this knowledge alone!

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Speak With Former Clients Of The Firm

Once you’ve narrowed down a few firms that appear to be good fits for your case, it’s time to start talking with them. The first step is to ask the firm if they can provide some references from clients who have used their services in the past.

Ask what they liked and disliked about the firm and what made them choose this one. Ask them how they felt about their lawyer(s), whether or not they would recommend this firm to others, and if/how often they would use this firm again for legal help in the future. 

You also should ask if there were any problems with communication or lack of attention during their interactions with the lawyers at these firms you want an attorney who will be honest with you right away so that any potential issues can be addressed before your case gets too far along in the process!

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7. Don’t Just Settle For Anyone

Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for in a lawyer, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. But before you start searching through online law directories and calling around, keep this advice in mind:

Don’t just settle for anyone. This goes hand-in-hand with not settling for the first lawyer you find. You want to be sure that the person representing you is qualified and experienced enough to handle your case. If they aren’t, then they’ll likely make mistakes that could cost more than it would have been worth hiring them in the first place!

Don’t just settle for someone convenient at the moment they may not have much experience either! You don’t want someone who hasn’t handled many real estate cases working on yours because then there’s no guarantee that everything will go smoothly during court hearings later down the road.”

8. Consider A Smaller Firm

When it comes to finding a lawyer, smaller firms are often the way to go. They’re more accessible and less intimidating than big-name firms, which means that you’ll likely get better service for your money. Smaller firms also tend to be less expensive, so if you’re dealing with a budget issue, this is an ideal route. 

Finally, small firms tend to be more personable and flexible—meaning they’ll work hard on your case but are also there when you need them most!

9. Be Wary Of Online Reviews

There are some things you can do to get a better sense of how a lawyer will perform for you. For example, if you have friends who have worked with lawyers in the past, ask them for recommendations. 

You might also be able to find helpful information by searching online directories such as Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo; these sites allow professionals to post their credentials and provide client reviews on their sites.

While these resources can be helpful, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t always reliable sources of information because they may not reflect the experiences of everyone who has used an attorney’s services and there are several reasons why:

Online reviews are often biased because someone who had a negative experience will be more likely than others to leave one (or multiple) negative reviews about an attorney on review websites like Yelp or Google+. 

As such, it is important not only when researching online reviews but also when reading them that you consider whether they might reflect bias against your potential attorney based on personal interactions with them rather than truthfulness about their professional performance.*

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10. Know What Questions To Ask In An Interview

You should also research your prospective lawyers’ track records. Are they known for their experience in the type of case you’re facing? Did they win or lose recent cases similar to yours? Do they have a reputation for being ethical, honest, and hard-working? If you’re interviewing a law firm, ask if any of its attorneys are certified as specialists in your area of concern.

You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions when it comes time to hire a lawyer. Remember that you’re entitled to know exactly what services will be provided at what cost before agreeing with any lawyer or firm. Your attorney should not charge you more than what was agreed upon during the initial consultation or retainer agreement process (if applicable).

11. Ask About Fees And Costs Upfront

The first thing you should do is ask about the total cost of the legal services. Lawyers will usually have a “flat fee” or “retainer”, which means that they charge you one set amount for their services, rather than billing by the hour. This way, you know exactly how much your case will cost upfront and can plan accordingly.

You should also ask about how much money your lawyer expects from you upfront (the “retainer”), since paying it will allow them to start working on your case right away without having to wait until after they’ve billed hours and hours spent on research and other preliminary work.

Additionally, inquire about any additional costs associated with hiring this particular lawyer (such as filing fees or court costs).

12. Interview Potential Lawyers

Once you’ve identified a few lawyers who appear to meet your needs, it’s time for an interview. Here are some questions that may help:

How long have you been practicing law?

What is your success rate? Can you provide some examples?

What is your hourly rate or a flat fee for legal work? How does it compare with others in the area? Do these rates vary depending on the type of case (e.g., family law, criminal defense)? What other costs do clients incur (e.g., court filing fees)? 

Are there any costs that I need to pay upfront or can they be paid after the case has been settled (or lost) and billed later? Is there anything else I should know about billing practices before we get started working together?

How do you generally approach cases like this one what are some strategies that might work well here and what kinds of strategies should be avoided because they would not be effective enough given my goals/needs/concerns specified above…?

13. Use Free Resources, Search Online

When you need a lawyer, it’s not always easy to find one that has the expertise and experience needed for your case. However, there are many resources available to help guide you through the process.

One of the best ways to find a lawyer is by searching online. Using search engines like Google or Bing can help you narrow down your search results based on location, price range, and experience level.[2] 

You can also check out review sites like Yelp[3] or Avvo[4] where people have left feedback about their experiences with specific lawyers as well as reviews of law firms in general.[5] Another great resource for finding information about attorneys is local bar associations that publish directories containing contact information for attorneys in specific areas.[6]

Another good way to find lawyers is by contacting your local courthouse directly and asking if they know any qualified attorneys who specialize in certain areas of law.[7] Many courts provide free legal assistance clinics where individuals can meet with pro bono lawyers who may be able to help them resolve their legal issues without having to pay any fees upfront.[8]

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14. Talk To Other Lawyers

  • Talk to other lawyers.

Even if you don’t have a recommendation from a friend, family member, or colleague, there are several ways you can get in touch with lawyers who might be able to help. You might consider:

Talk to your friends and family for referrals. Even if they haven’t gone through the process of finding a legal professional themselves, they may know someone who has used an attorney in the past and could share their experience with you. 

Ask around at work too–sometimes employees will have recommendations about which attorneys were good to work with when they needed legal assistance on something like divorce or bankruptcy proceedings.

Asking other lawyers how they found their current employment (or how they handled certain situations) can also be helpful because it gives you insight into how knowledgeable those individuals are about what’s involved in practicing law at any given moment.

Check out our guide on How To Find A Lawyer When You Need One for more information on getting started with this process!

15. Look In Directories

Look in the phone book. The yellow pages are a good place to start. Look up lawyers under “attorneys” and see if any local ones fit the bill.

Look in the online yellow pages (and white pages). Even if you don’t have access to a physical phone book, many cities now have digital versions available on their websites or in other directories like Yelp and Google Local Search that provide listings of local businesses with reviews from previous customers, including attorneys’ offices. 

You can also look up specific listings for attorneys by name; this will give you more options than simply flipping through an index card or leafing through pages of paper (though it might take longer).

Search online business directories like Superpages or Dex Knows Yellow Pages [2] to find more companies offering legal services within your area of interest: criminal defense specialists; family law experts; divorce lawyers—the possibilities are endless!


Now you know how to find a lawyer when you need one. Hopefully, we’ve given you some good ideas on where to start your search and how to find the right fit for your needs. 

Remember that finding the right lawyer is an important first step in building trust and establishing a relationship with them. If you have any questions about what we discussed here or any other legal questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Further Reading

For more information on finding legal assistance and choosing the right lawyer, you may find these resources helpful:

American Bar Association: How Do I Find a Lawyer? Discover the steps to take when searching for a lawyer, including considerations for different legal needs and types of lawyers.

U.S. News & World Report: Find Legal Help When You Can’t Afford a Lawyer Learn about options for obtaining legal assistance when facing financial constraints, including pro bono services and legal aid organizations.

Forbes: How to Find a Good Lawyer When You Really Need One Gain insights into finding a competent lawyer who aligns with your legal needs, offering tips on research and evaluation.


How can I start the process of finding a lawyer?

Starting your search involves defining your legal needs and understanding the type of lawyer you require. Different legal issues may call for specialized expertise.

What are some affordable options for legal assistance?

If affordability is a concern, you can explore pro bono services provided by lawyers who offer their expertise for free or reduced fees. Additionally, legal aid organizations may assist those with limited financial resources.

How can I evaluate if a lawyer is a good fit for my case?

Research the lawyer’s experience, qualifications, and areas of expertise. You can also read reviews and seek referrals from friends or colleagues who have faced similar legal issues.

What questions should I ask during a consultation with a lawyer?

During a consultation, ask about the lawyer’s experience with cases similar to yours, their approach to handling your case, expected timelines, and potential costs.

How do I ensure effective communication with my chosen lawyer?

Clear communication is vital. Establish preferred communication methods, discuss expectations for updates, and ensure you understand the legal processes involved in your case.