• How Do You Find a Lawyer?
  • July 23, 2012
  • Law Firm: Jonathan Scott Smith LLC - Columbia Office
  • When you need to find a lawyer, many people don't know how to go about it, or where to start. Here are some basic ways to find a lawyer:

    • Ask family, friends, and co-workers for a referral. Often, other people you know and trust can tell you about their personal experience with an attorney.
    • Use Internet Search Engines. Using an internet search engine, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, can be a quick way to find lawyers. You should search both geographically and topically. For example, search "car accident lawyer" "Howard County, MD."
    • Lawyer Directories. There are many online lawyer directories that can help you find a lawyer by searching the area of law and the geographical area where you want to find attorneys. Two of the largest and best lawyer directories are http://www.lawyers.com/ and http://www.findlaw.com/. A third trusted source is http://www.martindale.com/.

    Finding lawyers isn't that difficult. Your next question probably is, "how do I find a goodlawyer?"

    How to Find a Good Lawyer

    There are many factors to consider in evaluating lawyers, and finding a good lawyer. Here are some of the most important ones:

    • Ratings of lawyers (peer ratings, i.e. what do other lawyers and judges say about a lawyer's skill and ethics)
    • Lawyers ratings by clients
    • Client reviews
    • A lawyer's track record of results in actual cases
    • Number of years a lawyer has been practicing law
    • Legal publications authored by the lawyer
    • Teaching or presentations made by the lawyer to other lawyers
    • Positions in bar associations and other legal organizations

    Lawyers Reviews and Ratings

    There are organizations that development lawyer ratings and reviews. The oldest and most respected is Martindale-Hubbell (http://www.martindale.com/). Lawyers are rated confidentially by judges and other lawyers for their legal ability and ethics. The highest rating is "AV Preeminent." Only a small, select number of attorneys receive this coveted premier rating.

    Another source that rates lawyers is http://www.avvo.com/. This resource calculates a numerical rating, the highest being "10.0 Superb." This rating system considers a lawyer's years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition.

    Lawyer Reviews and Ratings by Clients

    Martindale.com permits clients to rate their lawyers, and to provide online reviews. This is an invaluable source of information by clients about their own attorneys.

    Avvo.com also permits clients to post reviews of their lawyers. This is an excellent source to see how clients evaluate the experience they have had with their lawyers.

    Be careful of lawyers who don't permit, or disclose, lawyer ratings and reviews by their own clients. What are they hiding?