According to the American Bar Association
, there are nearly 1.35 million active attorneys in the United States. While it's not always necessary to hire one for a court case, if you decide you need a lawyer, it is necessary to find one that suits you.
With legal practices ranging from estate planning to personal injury, whatever your case needs, there's probably a lawyer out there who specializes in it.
Before starting your search, consider the type of lawyer you need to achieve the case outcome you want by ensuring you find someone with knowledge and expertise specific to your situation. Most family court attorneys focus on marriage, divorce, child custody, adoptions, parental rights, and support.
There are several channels from which to gather information and find lawyers who are right for your case.
Your friends, family, and co-workers—people you know and can trust—are your best and most reliable sources for finding a lawyer. Ask if they can recommend someone they know. Your cousin, who has just been through a divorce and received a reasonable settlement, for instance, will no doubt be eager to share the name of her attorney.
Other lawyers also make referrals. If you know or have worked with an attorney on another matter, the chances are good that that person can recommend a reputable family law attorney to handle your case.
Several online directories are available for accessing attorneys and law firms if you are unable to find one through your contacts. Talking Parents
offers a directory searchable by practice specialty and location. Other popular services, such as LawInfo.com
, allow users to compare attorneys and see ratings and reviews by former clients and other legal professionals.
Contact Your Local Bar Association
You usually begin a legal case in the county where both parties live. If you want to petition for full custody of your child, for example, you will file in the county where you live. City and state bar associations, which are professional networks of lawyers, offer lawyer referral services, and other help finding and hiring attorneys.
Websites like FindLegalHelp.org
, from the American Bar Association's Division for Legal Services, offer lawyer referral services and bar directories that are searchable by city and state.
Finding a family court lawyer, one who is well-versed in your type of case, can be done with some easy searches by tapping into the resources described above, you can narrow your list of possible attorneys and arrange meetings with your top two to three picks.
Interview Your Top Choices
Go into each meeting prepared to discuss all the details of your case. Have specific questions regarding each lawyer's credentials and background in circumstances that are like yours. Also, learn about their processes, teams, and fees. Information you collect during these in-person meetings will help you round out your research and make a confident choice about the lawyer you hire.