If you think you may need lawyer, you do.
Hiring an attorney can be intimidating and overwhelming.
First place to start is determining the type of lawyer you need. Is it a civil lawyer, family law, intellectual property, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and the list goes on. Each of them has different law practice management. To figure this out, ask friends and relatives and/or do a google search.
Once you know the type of lawyer you need, do an internet search in your state for particular state’s bar website. Many of the state bar sites have a lawyer referral service. This will point you to a lawyer in your area with knowledge in the field of law you need. Most state bar websites allow you to do a search of that particular lawyer’s name and you can find out how long they have been practicing, what law school they graduated from, and whether they have a record of discipline with the state bar. On this site you will also find the lawyer’s email, office and fax numbers, and website. Make sure you get at least three names from the referral service, look them all up on the state bar website and do a little research on their credentials and experience, check out their websites and even do a check for the lawyers ratings online in consumer sites like yelp.
Now that you have at least three attorney’s that may fit the bill, call their office. Make sure that you can make an appointment for a consultation and that you actually meet with the lawyer. Most attorneys do not charge for the consultation. However, many will have you meet with a paralegal or office manager and not the actual attorney. If this is the case you may want to decide whether that is the lawyer for you. This may be indicative of the level of personal attention to your case if you were to hire him or her.
Make sure you go to more than one consultation. The lawyer you choose will have a direct impact on your life, your freedom and your finances. Remember, you are interviewing lawyers that are going to work for YOU. You run the show, you pay them. If they are dismissive or do not answer your questions, make you feel rushed or uneasy, it’s simple. DO NOT HIRE THEM. If there is a lawyer you like, has answered all your questions and has given you a quote on a price you believe is reasonable, take the retainer home and review the documents before you sign them. Most lawyers will ask for a deposit unless they work on a contingency basis.