Nobody likes the thought of going to a lawyer’s office, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a great legal counselor on call in case the need arises. Some matters may be relatively simple to deal with and can be sorted out without the help of expensive legal services, yet there are others which simply cannot be solved without the help of an experienced lawyer. 

A good lawyer coughs up more than just legal information. They offer strategic advice and apply technical skills to problems you might misinterpret. Ideally, a good lawyer is someone who is a “legal coach” when you need advice and takes over as your formal legal counsel only when required.

Here are some ways you can find a great lawyer:

Personal References

A good lawyer may be easier to find than you imagined. Ask your friends, family and community groups if they have recommendations for lawyers specializing in the area of your business/ personal legal need. For example, you can reach out to women’s groups to seek advice on legal counsel if you are faced with sexual harassment at your workplace. 

Make sure you set up a meeting and get to know the lawyer personally. Recommendations are great, but it is important to discuss your case with the lawyer and also judge your comfort level in working with them. Also, it is critical that the lawyer recommended to you is a specialist in your kind of matter. For instance, a divorce lawyer recommendation may not do you much good if you need corporate tax-related advice.

Business References

Businesses which provide key services to lawyers may be able to connect you to the right individual or firm to help with your legal concerns. For example, your accountant, banker or real-estate broker may be able to help you find a lawyer specializing in small business law. These individuals have regular interactions with lawyers in their day-to-day business and are well poised to make that call connecting you to a great legal counselor. 

Online Directories

Many websites offer you the option of booking a free call or consultation with lawyers around you. You can find lawyers near your location with specific skills and experience on these online directories. There is also a call-back feature on many of these sites where the right type of lawyers get back to you regarding your case.  

Official Bar Association Website

Your National Bar Association’s official website will usually have a lot of great information for consumers and professionals who have legal queries. You can look for the “Hire a Lawyer/ Attorney” tab on the website and be given step-by-step instructions on getting an attorney for your legal needs.

Other things to keep in mind after you hire your lawyer:

  1. Ensure your lawyer writes up cost estimates of each legal matter in an email, so that you can decide whether the matter is worth pursuing.
  2. Monthly retainer vs per matter? If you foresee regular legal inputs on matters of a certain type, you may want to consider a more reasonable monthly retainer rather than a per matter billing system with your lawyer.
  3. Request itemized bills monthly/quarterly.
  4. Meet with your lawyer regularly. This will help you stay in touch and keep them abreast to the latest happenings centered around your business or personal matters.
  5. Upfront payment discounts may be requested from your lawyer. A 10% discount for paying a month earlier may be too good to turn down for both parties!
  6. Always be prepared when you meet your lawyer. Keep all required documents, communications and information relevant to your matter in a systematized manner prior to your meeting.