How to Find The Best Lawyer For My Case
A lawyer for over 30 years now, I'm often asked at cocktail parties and events, “How do I find the best lawyer?” Invariably, I respond that, with a little effort, anyone can find the right type of attorney for his or her case with 5 simple steps.
Read on to learn the 5 steps for finding the best lawyer or sign up below to receive my ebook, Avoid Lawyer Advertising Hype! A Lawyer's Method for Finding a Lawyer. You may also request a copy via mail by calling (888) 752-7474.
5 Steps for Finding the Best Lawyer for Your Case:
Step 1: Determine What Kind of Specialist You Need.
You need a lawyer who specializes in your type of case. You may not know what type of specialty your case requires. Here is a list of questions to ask to determine what kind of attorney you need.
- Personal Injury: These are cases in which someone has caused you injury or damage because they acted recklessly or wrongfully. Auto accidents, assault, battery, defective products, or injury caused by doctor or lawyer malpractice fall under this category.
- Family law: These are the cases that arise out of disputes with your spouse or children concerning divorce, custody, alimony, support, and domestic violence.
- Workers' Compensation: If you were injured on the job, you would pursue this type of case. California has an exclusive remedy rule that limits the circumstances under which you may sue your employer. A lawyer specializing in workers' compensation can determine whether or not you have a claim.
- Business Documents and Disputes: This type of lawyer deals with business disputes, leases, contracts, setting up businesses, patents and other similar matters. The lawyer may or may not handle litigation.
- Criminal Lawyer: You'll need this type of lawyer if you were caught breaking the law.
- Small claims: In this case, you would not need a lawyer. Current California small claims actions allow you to sue for up to $10,000. Special rules apply to companies, so check the state's website for up-to-date information.
If your case is not listed here, chances are you need to ask yourself some more questions to determine which category it fits into. This may help lead you to the right subspecialty.
Step 2: Find the Specialist.
To find the best attorney for your case, use these questions and tools.
- Ask yourself, “Can I afford a lawyer?” Many personal injury attorneys, like myself, will work on contingency, meaning they are paid after they successfully resolve your case.
- Ask yourself, “What kind of personality do I want my attorney to have, aggressive and mean or fair and patient? Be careful: an overly aggressive attorney may fight that way for you but also against you. In most cases, you want an attorney who is more knowledgeable than aggressive.
- Search the Internet for keywords that would be related to your type of case. If you had an injury case and wanted to find an attorney like me, you might type in “Orange County personal injury lawyer.” You could also search for more specific terms like “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Orange County Attorney.” In this case, you would see I am highly qualified in that area of personal injury law.
- Compile a list of 10 or so attorneys in the area where you live, at least the county or even Southern California, as an example. Write down their names and numbers, but do not start calling.
Step 3: Now the Real Work Begins. What Can You Learn about Them?
- First check the State Bar of California for any disciplinary actions. You would be surprised at the number of attorneys who keep getting hired even though they have multiple claims of impropriety against them over the years. Check their names here.
- Second, go to Martindale-Hubbell, an esteemed, independent rating organization for attorneys. An AV Preeminent rating means that a lawyer's peers and members of the bar and the judiciary consider him or her to practice law with the highest level of professional excellence.
- Third, check out the attorneys on Avvo, Yelp, and Super Lawyers. If they are listed in these organizations, you will see their detailed resumes and also their ratings. Avvo has a rigorous process for rating lawyers, giving those it considers the best a 10. Similarly, the designation of “Super Lawyer” indicates a lawyer is considered to have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Step 4: Pick the Three Best Lawyers, Call Them, and Set Meetings.
- You can tell a lot by your initial contact with the lawyer. Were you able to reach the attorney or his or her office quickly and speak to someone about your case? Was it easy to obtain an appointment to speak with the attorney or to meet with him or her in person? It is always better to make an appointment, as both you and the lawyer can learn so much about each other in a meeting.
- During the meeting, did the attorney listen to you, have great questions, and make you feel confident about your case? If not, then keep looking. After all, you are looking for the best attorney for your case. If you don't feel that an attorney is the best, then trust your intuition.
Step 5: Choose a Lawyer You Like and Trust
- Never feel intimidated that you have to take the lawyer on his or her word. Hard-sell attorneys are rarely the best ones; neither are attorneys who make you feel that they are doing you a favor by taking your case. Instead there should be a mutual respect between the lawyer and you.
Trust me, this is really all there is to finding the best attorney for your case. It takes a few more minutes but can save you a lot of headache later. If you want more information about finding the right lawyer for you case, you can download my ebook, Avoid Lawyer Advertising Hype! A Lawyer's Method for Finding a Lawyer, for free by signing up below. You may also request to have a copy mailed to you by calling (888) 752-7474.
About James Ballidis
A personal injury lawyer and the owner of Orange County law firm Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie, James Ballidis has been helping those who've been seriously injured in accidents recover, both physically and financially, for more than 30 years. Revered by his fellow attorneys and members of the bar and the judiciary for his performance at trial and professionalism and ethics, he has received the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a ranking of 10 from Avvo, and the designation of Super Lawyer. Throughout his career, he has written extensively on issues concerning the personal injury claims process, as well as on motivation and success.
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You were wonderful throughout my case. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the process so that I could feel comfortable. When I was hurt, I really did not know where to turn and Suzanne was comforting and knowledgable. Thanks again for all you did.