There are those “life changing moments”... like buying your first home, getting a divorce or starting a business that may require the help of an attorney.  Attorneys, after all, do more than provide legal information; they offer strategic advice and apply sophisticated technical skills to legal problems.  The question is:  How do you go about finding the right attorney to help - one who can efficiently help with your particular problem? You should be able to find the right one....if you know where to look.

LawInfo’s Attorney Directory. LawInfo’s Lead Counsel Program provides a simple, convenient, and reliable way to find qualified legal representation you can count on. LawInfo conducts an extensive screening and selection process before attorneys are listed in the directory, including multiple peer recommendations, license certification and in-house verification that the attorneys are in good standing with their state bar associations. 

LawInfo also provides a comprehensive profile for each attorney that outlines their experience, education, areas of practice, fees, and perhaps most importantly, their general philosophy of practicing law. Every attorney has taken a pledge to communicate regularly with you, provide an estimate of the time and cost that may be involved for your case, and provide you with a clear, fair, written agreement that spells out how they will handle your legal matter and how you will be charged. For more information see www.lawinfo.com.

Personal Referrals. Asking someone who has been in a similar situation to the one you're facing may yield some good recommendations.  Do your friends, family members, co-workers or employers know of any attorneys who've dealt with this kind of thing?  How was their experience?  Did they like their attorney?  Were they satisfied with the outcome?  Did their attorney do a good job for them?   After you've spoken to a handful of people, you may come away with several referrals.  You might take your inquiries out into the community as well - don't be afraid to ask teachers, doctors, social workers, ministers or other lawyers in your community for the name of an attorney.

Certified Lawyer Referral Services. State Bar associations may have a certified lawyer referral service program. This type of service refers potential clients to program attorneys after interviewing them to determine details of the situation. (There is usually a small charge for the initial consultation with a lawyer.)

Advertisements. Many law firms advertise in the Yellow Pages, newspapers or other local publications in your area.  However, the ads may only give you basic information such as firm name, address, and practice areas, which unfortunately isn't much help when it comes to figuring out if the attorney will be the right fit for your situation.

Public Interest Groups. Non-profit public interest organizations, such as groups concerned with civil liberties or the environment, may be able to help.  These groups may have staff attorneys who might be able to handle your individual case, while others provide legal help to groups of people. For example, they might help you and your neighbors convince your city council to install a traffic light at a busy intersection.

Free Legal Aid or Pro Bono Lawyers. While many attorneys may offer free consultations, most private attorneys charge a fee for their advice and representation.  However, there may be free legal aid agencies or low-income legal clinics that may be able to help you with your legal issue if you simply can not afford an attorney.  Some private attorneys may even take your case on a "pro bono" basis, which means the fees (or a portion of the fees) may be waived. 

Dispute Resolution Programs. Many communities have programs that can help you and another person "mediate" or work out problems instead of going to trial.

Prepaid Legal Services Plans. Similar to medical insurance, this "legal insurance" may cover the kind of legal work you need. Typically, the premiums you pay entitle you to a certain amount of a lawyer's time or to a lawyer's services at a reduced rate.

Remember: never make a decision about an attorney solely on the basis of someone else's suggestion. An attorney's style and personality cannot be entirely gauged by viewing a web site, yellow page ad or a simple phone conversation. Don't make up your mind about hiring an attorney until you've met with them, discussed your case, and decided that you feel comfortable working with them. The bottom line is that there are many, many attorneys; you just need the "right" one.