Whether you’re in legal trouble, dealing with a tax issue, looking to protect your assets, or even making a change to your marital status, you sometimes need an attorney to help you navigate the often muddy waters of the legal system. Having the right attorney at your side can mean the difference between keeping and losing your home, paying severe financial penalties, or even staring down a prison sentence. Here are four tips for finding an attorney who will do their best to help you win your case.
Determine Your Needs
In reality, there’s no such thing as “a lawyer.” Just as doctors specialize in gerontology or pediatrics, lawyers too have specialties. The lawyer you used to help you file personal bankruptcy in New York City – no matter how excellent they were at it – won’t be the appropriate choice to help you set up your new business taxes in San Diego.
- Once you have determined your situation’s specific needs, you can begin your search for an attorney that has the education, experience, and connections to make your case come out in your favor.
Ask for Recommendations
Although your bankruptcy lawyer won’t be the best fit for helping you file your business taxes, that doesn’t mean they won’t know someone who will. Ask any of your past legal representation to make a recommendation for the type of attorney you currently need. Not only may they know the best lawyer in their field – they may be able to get you a personal introduction, thus speeding up the process of getting your new attorney on retainer.
- You can also ask your business partners and members of your network to make recommendations in this same vein. You may discover an attorney who gets rave reviews from a number of people who all dealt with the issue you’re currently facing.
Look for a Referral Service
When you’re having trouble tracking down an attorney with the specialty and experience you need, you can request the help of a legal referral service or your local bar association. These types of group maintain lists of attorneys, their specialties, their experience, and the results of their cases. They can provide you with several options that you can then research in more detail before making a final choice.
Do Your Homework
However you get the name of an attorney – from friends, business partners, or a legal organization – it’s important that you take the word of others with a grain of salt. Do your own research before making a final decision. According to Consumer Reports, you need to:
- Ask probing questions of the people giving you a recommendation. What was their experience like? How available was the attorney? Did they answer questions fully and accurately?
- Set up a meeting to interview the attorney. Do they seem organized? Do they listen to what you have to say? Are they willing to give you client referrals?
- Don’t hesitate to interview other attorneys to get an insider view of how this individual operates and how satisfied their clients are.
There are many situations where having an attorney in your corner is necessary in order for you to pursue legal action. This can include bringing a lawsuit against someone, defending yourself from a lawsuit, dealing with an IRS audit, or even simply buying a new home. Take care in how you find your attorney, and make sure to thoroughly vet them before hiring them.
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