Four Steps To Finding The Right Attorney 

Step 1.  Determine your needs. What do you want your attorney to do?  Estate planning, personal injury, divorce or business require different skills?  Make a needs list broken down by "must have," "would be nice," and "icing on the cake" skills.  

Step 2.  Activate your referral system.  Ask family and friends.  Check with your banker, accountant, and insurance agent.  Talk with customers, vendors and members of your soccer team.  The key to making a referral system work is you being willing to make your needs known by asking for help.  People love to be asked and they love to help.

Step 3.  If your referral system draws a blank, you can contact your local bar association lawyer referral service.  Often the lawyers who participate in these services are trying to build a practice and may lack experience.

Another option to use is Martindale-Hubbell (, which maintains a worldwide database on lawyers.  Martindale-Hubbell rates lawyers based on their legal skills, ethics and professionalism through confidential surveys of other lawyers and judges. You can review the survey results by clicking on the Peer Review Ratings.  Many lawyers advertise on the internet, maintain websites and otherwise make themselves known to the public.  Keep in mind that anyone can post information on the internet, accurate or not.

Step 4.  Talk with each lawyer on your list to find out if the lawyer is competent to solve your needs; can you work with him or her; and can you afford the lawyer.


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