Very few people keep lawyers on retainers because of the expense. Also, you may only need a lawyer a few times in your life for closing on a house, writing a will, or when you’ve been in a car accident.
If you have never been to an attorney before, it can be daunting to try to hire one in an emergency but using these tips, you should be able to hire a reputable lawyer who can help you.
Try an Employee Assistance Program
Most corporations have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in their benefits package. An EAP can be a good resource for finding an attorney when you need legal advice or help quickly.
Contact the program and ask about finding an attorney where you live to help with your legal matter.
Use a Lawyer Referral Service
The American Bar Association and the Bar Association in your state will have referral services for attorneys in the area of law that you need. However, you should do some research after getting the referrals to make sure they provide the services that you need.
After getting a list of names from the referral website, go to the attorney’s website to locate their offices and ensure that they practice the type of law that you need.
Ask for Referrals
If you have friends, family, or co-workers who have recently gone to a lawyer about legal matters, ask them for a referral. The law firm they worked with may have someone on their staff that can handle the legal matters that you need help with, even if you need someone immediately.
Don’t Rule Out Commercials
Daytime television is teeming with advertisements for lawyers who handle car accidents and other types of personal injury cases. A quick internet search can help you eliminate attorneys with a not so stellar history, so consider contacting a serious injury lawyer that advertises on TV.
Check for Disciplinary Action
Fortunately, a tool for searching an attorney’s reputation is available in most homes and your hand if you have a smartphone.
Each state bar website has information about disciplinary actions against attorneys, so use it to run the names of attorneys who others recommend to you. The information you find could keep you from hiring an unscrupulous attorney.
Ask About Fees Before Hiring
Even if you’re hiring an attorney on a contingency fee basis, find out how much they plan to claim a settlement or money awarded to you. The typical fees are between 33 to 40 percent of monetary awards, so if a lawyer quotes more than that, be wary of hiring him or her.
Also, check the state statutes to see if there is a law about how much lawyers can claim of a settlement or an amount awarded to you after a trial. Many states limit the amount lawyers can take to prevent clients from being left in a bad financial situation.
Even though you may not feel like tackling research while recovering from a car accident, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer to help negotiate settlements with insurance companies or represent you in court if the settlement isn’t enough to cover your needs.