Finding a lawyer can be a stressful experience. Whether you want to sue someone or have been accused of a crime, it is important that you find a legal professional who will zealously fight for your rights. There are likely thousands of lawyers located in your state, but not all of them will be a good fit for your case. Below are tips for finding your ideal attorney.
Resources for Finding a Lawyer
There are numerous websites you can use to find a qualified lawyer. You should be aware that some lawyer directories may be commercialized and require that attorneys pay a fee for being listed. Other directories may be maintained by nonprofit organizations. The American Bar Association (ABA) is a great organization to consult for a list of attorneys in good standing in your state. A state bar association may also maintain a directory of lawyers who specialize in your particular legal situation.
Creating a Fee Agreement
When you want to hire an affordable lawyer, one of the most important aspects of the hiring process is the fee agreement. You should carefully review the fee agreement, which will explain whether an attorney will be paid on an hourly basis, contingency fee basis, or a combination of these payment methods. You may want to hire a lawyer based on a contingency fee basis if you cannot afford to pay an attorney up front. This means that the lawyer will accept your case without requiring the payment of a fee and will only be paid based on the outcome of your case. If your case is settled, the attorney typically takes a 20-40% cut of the settlement.
Hiring a Legal Aid Lawyer
If you are strapped for cash, you may want to consider hiring a Legal Aid Services attorney. Legal Aid Services is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing free legal assistance to low-income clients. You must submit an application to see whether you qualify for an attorney's free assistance. Even if your application is denied due to your income level, a Legal Aid Services organization may still be able to refer you to an attorney who handles pro bono cases in your area. Hiring a pro bono attorney is another option that you have for finding low-cost legal services. Pro bono attorneys handle cases on their own, and they typically charge little or nothing.
Questions to Ask a Lawyer
Before you hire a lawyer, you should ask about the fee schedule. You should also figure out whether he or she has experience in handling cases similar to yours. Make sure that the attorney does not have a significant case load and will be able to dedicate time to handling your case.
Hiring a lawyer is an important decision that requires thorough research. If you take time to carefully consider a lawyer's experience and background, you can avoid potential issues that can arise with a rookie attorney.