Ask around. Word of mouth or referrals is probably a better bet than blindly going to the Yellow Pages or Internet. Avoid using an attorney who purposefully solicits your business. Good attorneys don’t seek out clients.

Don’t use a family member or good friend as your attorney, unless it’s for routine matters. You are probably better off seeking the counsel of a neutral party for important matters, as they will be more likely to give you a realistic and frank appraisal of your situation.

Avoid handling your own legal affairs. The legal system and laws are rapidly evolving so it would be wise to seek out the advice of a professional. Don’t use a general practice attorney for specialized matters. A specialist in tax law, real estate, patent law or other specialized areas will be better able to help you.

Negotiate a fee up front. For many routine matters the attorney should be able to quote you a set fee. If you are billed hourly, request that you are given frequent reports on your expenses so you can monitor your costs. Don’t be afraid to hire an experienced attorney who may charge a little more than the rest. If they can get the job done in less billable hours than a lesser experienced attorney, you will save money in the long run.

Check your state bar’s website for a biography on your attorney. You can also research any history of discipline or suspensions.


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