Hiring the top attorney for your legal needs can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, especially if you don’t know where to look. 86% of clients meet their lawyers through Google, which means a web search is undoubtedly one of the most reliable ways of searching for top attorneys in your area.
However, many lawyers follow the practice of creating shell offices and promoting them as online firms. They do not actually work out of these cities, yet they list them with the sole motive of reaching into communities that they do not live or work in. Therefore, you might be misled into believing that the attorney works in your area, whereas you might end up meeting just one of his paralegals.
This is why it is essential to follow some best practices when searching for top attorneys in your area and actually finding them. At Bash Foo, we have helped several law firms optimize their websites for search; therefore, you can say we have insights to provide you on this matter!
Let’s dig deeper into this topic.
A Few Things to Focus on Before Beginning Your Lawyer Search
Most people prefer to have long-term connections with their lawyers to resort to them even for future cases. This makes it important to look for the right qualities in your attorney that could make an association with them feasible for you in the long run.
The lawyer’s experience and areas of expertise are prime factors, for most lawyers tend to focus on just one or a few types of law. Therefore, always try to select an attorney who has previously proven experience in the field you seek help in. For instance, a lawyer specializing in divorce cases is not ideal for dealing with business laws or criminal court cases.
Secondly, you might also want to look at the size of their practice. If you need an attorney to only help you out with contract reviewing and documentation, it is not necessary to go for a large firm. However, a large corporate firm with multiple experts and vast experience might prove much more helpful when dealing with more significant business issues.
Location is an important factor since you want an attorney well-versed with state and local laws, rules, and regulations. At the same time, it would be much more convenient for you to make frequent trips to their office for consultations, discussions, depositions, and so on.
This is How You should Search for the Top Attorneys in Your Area
With the internet having revolutionized almost every traditional field, searching for a good attorney has also become more convenient than ever before. Together with the web, you must deploy a mix of conventional approaches for a fool-proof search of the best lawyer for your case.
There are several ways to search authentically for the top attorneys in your area while steering clear of any shell companies or fraudsters. Here is our list.
Good Old Google Search
In 2019, around 86% of law firms had a website, which is steadily increasing year on year. Thanks to Google’s latest algorithm update, it is no longer possible for online businesses to rank high unless they assure quality, value, and, naturally, high traffic. This is another reason why attorneys and firms hire top digital marketing agencies to help present their value better and reach out to potential clients on the web.
Therefore, you can use the web as a first step towards researching the top attorneys in your area. Be mindful of using your location (or “near me”) and the lawyer’s expertise when typing in a search query for the most relevant results. Try shortlisting lawyers or firms that have verified Google My Business pages and boast multiple positive reviews. Take a good look at their website to understand their principles, values, experience, and expertise to understand whether or not they are a good fit for you.
Social Networking Sites
These days, social media has quickly replaced search engines to provide more authentic and customer-reviewed information on businesses. The same can be said about law firms and attorneys with a handsome social media presence across relevant platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
You can search for the top attorneys in your area on these platforms with ease. The additional benefit you get is in the form of authentic reviews by their clients, who you can look up online too. Word of caution: not all attorneys or law firms readily showcase their work or profile on social media. You might not get all the top attorneys in your area on these platforms. However, it is a good initial step to be able to shortlist some choices. First, find 2-3 lawyers using Google, and then look into what sort of a person they are on Facebook.
Refer to a Reliable Online Directory
Online directories, such as Nolo, offer comprehensive and trusted information on the top attorneys in the US, which you can browse by location. Such directories offer an all-inclusive profile of attorneys, including their experience, education, fees, area of expertise, and so on.
However, you should ensure that you are using only the most reliable online directories for accessing such information. Some directories promise to list only those attorneys who have a valid license and are in good standing with their bar association. Therefore, you can have a list of the best and authentic attorneys in your area in a single click.
Buyers beware of sites like NOLO; however, they allow their attorneys to pay for enhanced listing views and feature spots. They may not be the best lawyer in the pack, but they may have the deepest pockets to buy ads.
Apart from an online directory, you can also access the Local Chamber of Commerce for reliable information on top attorneys in your area. You can get direct line or mobile phone numbers for reaching out to them, saving you from passing through a wave of client advocates or paralegals.
The Word-of-Mouth Way
By far, one of the most trusted ways of looking for and finding a top attorney who can meet your needs is by way of referrals. If you are in touch with another lawyer, say someone who is not an expert in the field you are looking for, you can always ask them for someone who is. Most lawyers have direct contact numbers and emails of fellow lawyers. Besides, they could share their insights on whose work they deem best.
You can also reach out to business referrals – your banker, accountant, insurance agent, real estate broker, and so on – for expert attorneys in your area in the field you are interested in. Such people are usually in constant touch with lawyers and paralegals and can help you instantly with the best recommendations.
Then again, you can depend on your friends, family, relatives, or colleagues to share with you their personal references when it comes to an expert attorney. If they have been in similar situations before, they could even provide you with honest feedback on their experience with the attorney and his firm.
Advertisements by Law firms
Not all, but some ads can actually be helpful in your quest for the best attorneys in your area. There is always a degree of caution to be maintained – do not believe everything you hear or read.
However, with the increasing relevance of internet search for law firms and social media, many reliable and resourceful attorneys and law firms choose to catch the potential client’s attention through advertisements. Look out for their area of expertise, years of experience, location, fees, and so on in such ads.
Taking Help from Non-Profits
Some non-profit groups and men/women support groups often help individuals, small businesses, and families by helping them access the right attorney for their case. Such groups are also the best destination when researching for similar cases, especially if you are a small business new to legal complications.
These groups are well-versed with authentic local attorneys in your area and even help you meet someone who fits your budget and philosophy. From family and divorce lawyers to business lawyers through clinics, you can also access specific experts, such as someone who could deal with an urban sprawl case with help from an environmental group.
It does not end with the search
Even after you have successfully drawn a list of the top attorneys in your area specific to your need and budget, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Actually Finding the Attorney is Equally Important
With no shortage of fraudsters and shell companies on the web, the next step after searching for attorneys is to find them. When using the electronic medium for searching a local attorney, seek their direct email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, instead of email@example.com to have a better chance of actually reaching the attorney. A background check of their office location and a discovery call are also great options.
Be Wary of their Charges
It is an excellent practice to have some clarity over the consultation and interview charges beforehand. Ask the attorney if they provide free consultations and how much an initial interview would cost. Also, be transparent about their fees, included services, method (lump sum, installments), and mode (online, bank transfer, and so on) of payments.
Read Maximum Reviews
Even after you have searched the top attorneys in your area, it is best to dig up client reviews of them, whether online or in-person. This gives you a clear idea of how suitable they are for you and how working with them will turn out to be.
Have Transparent Communication with Them
Lastly, before you finalize your attorney, get in touch with them either in person or on a phone call to understand their philosophy and present your concerns. If you hope for them to represent you, your ideologies must match theirs to a certain level.