How to Find an Attorney
You may have found our site because you or a loved one is facing a legal issue. Maybe you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Or perhaps you are anticipating a legal confrontation with your employer or the I.R.S. Whatever your reason, dealing with an unresolved legal matter can be incredibly stressful.
“Where do I begin?”
The internet of course has a wealth of free legal information on all areas and aspects of the law. There are also online forums where people who have faced similar challenges post their experiences and exchange ideas. We encourage you to take advantage of all these free resources as you navigate this difficult legal landscape.
“I need an attorney.”
But as you no doubt have discovered, the legal system is extremely complex and fraught with uncertainty. Much of the free online legal help you find is superficial or less comprehensive than you are seeking. This is because true legal advice requires the application of legal theory to a specific set of facts. Regardless of how you personally feel about lawyers, speaking with an experienced attorney about your specific case remains a top source for legal advice. But who do you talk to and ultimately hire? Maybe a friend or co-worker has been through a similar situation and can offer some names. But what if you have no such resources, or you feel uncomfortable openly discussing these very personal events? Next, you might search the phone book, contact the state bar association, and even call a few law firms – only to find your call screened by a paralegal or legal assistant. What about all those questions you had for the attorney? Maybe he will get back to you in a few days, or ask you to come in for a consultation. And this is only the first lawyer you called!
“Okay, but I want to hire the best lawyer I can!”
Despite all the frustration you face when finding an attorney, you are certain of one thing – you want to hire the best representation you can. Understandable … but what is “best?” How do you define it? That “fantastic” Houston bankruptcy lawyer your brother-in-law hired may not be the best fit for you. Maybe that lawyer did not return your phone calls promptly or just seemed indifferent. Aside from your personal comfort level, it is our opinion that one of the single most important factors to consider when hiring an attorney is experience.
“Why does experience matter?”
While you may have read stories about that 12 year old computer whiz kid or 14 year old musical prodigy, you will never read about a 12 year old legal guru. Why? Experience. Those whiz kids may be able to setup your computer, but they won’t be able to interpret an employment agreement. The law, just like the medical field, is a professional services business which takes years of practice to master. It has been said that if you needed open heart surgery, you would certainly want a doctor who has performed many of them! The same idea goes when choosing an attorney.
“So how can this site help me find an attorney?”
If experience is so important, how do you measure it? While there will never be an exact formula, we believe relevant factors could include: years of practice, reputation in the legal community, number of works published, teaching experience, and cases filed in court. This last factor – cases filed in court – is where we come in. To help narrow your search, we compiled a list of lawyers in different practice areas and states. We then checked that list against publicly available dockets from select courthouses to determine how many filed cases an attorney has appeared in over a recent 10 year period. We have included lawyers with the most court experience, generally known as litigators, on this site. Why is this information useful? It is our opinion that this information can be an important factor to consider when searching for an attorney. Let us explain. Going to court can be incredibly stressful and require long hours of trial work. An attorney with significant court experience will be that much more familiar with court policies and procedures, such as motion practice, pre-trial conferencing, and discovery. That attorney will likely have built relationships with judges, clerks of the courts, and other attorneys in the community. That attorney will also have good relationships with top expert witnesses who may be crucial for building the strongest case possible. Opposing counsel, judges, insurance companies, and creditors will know that your lawyer is not afraid to take the case to trial and will not easily settle. Drawing on this cumulative experience, your attorney will be able to shape the case in your favor at the outset and provide you with the best options, whether through settlement, arbitration, mediation, or litigation. Often, it is only through actual court experience can a lawyer truly understand the risks and benefits of these options, and then fully explain them to you in a meaningful way.
“Okay, I understand, but how do I use this site?”
You can use this site to review attorneys in your area of interest and narrow your search for an attorney in your state. Always remember that you are your best advocate. We encourage you to do as much research about an attorney as makes you feel comfortable in your hiring decision. Use this site as one piece of that research. The sidebar to the right contains a list of the practice or subject areas we review. A free listing of attorneys is provided under each practice area for nearly every state. Click on the location where you live to find the most experienced attorneys in your state. We have also provided the street address of each attorney and a map of the location can be accessed by clicking on the attorney name. In addition, a “Search for Attorneys by Location” option is located in the menu bar near the top of the page, which will give a map and listing of lawyers closest to your home or business. There is no registration required and all attorney information is free. Use as often as you like.
“Wait! I have more questions!”