Lawyer Referral Service

LRS Blog

Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jul 25, 2013

When you’re facing a lawsuit or other charges and you need to find a lawyer, it might seem intimidating if you don’t have any recommendations.  Trusting a family friend or just picking a name in the phone book instead of taking the time in finding the right lawyer for you can make or break your case.

The kind of lawyer you need will be dependent on your case, different people and firms specialize in certain areas of law. Some of these areas are,

Business Law: From starting a business to working within a large company, offering tax advice; someone specializing in this area of law can handle these issues.

Criminal Law: If you have been accused of a crime such as assault, theft, arson, fraud, embezzlement, homicide or other violations, seek out a criminal law attorney.

Family law: This area of law deals with marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, and other domestic issues.

Injury Law: If you’ve been in an accident, are involved with a medical malpractice claim, defamation, or other injuries, it is your best bet to get an injury attorney.

Real Estate Law: If your lawsuit involves physical property, whether it’s about foreclosure, landlord or tenant issues, or any other purchasing/selling of homes; seek out someone who specializes in this niche.

Tax Law: Whether it is personal or for a business, a tax attorney can help you with IRS audits, lowering your tax bill, or helping companies.

These are not the only practice fields; there are many attorneys who deal with specific cases which can be extremely beneficial to you.  Whether it’s crafting a will or defending yourself from being falsely accused, getting a thorough and honest lawyer is one of the smartest steps you can take.

Do I need a lawyer for my case?

While it is not necessary to have a lawyer, in most cases it is the wisest choice to seek legal counsel, especially if you are facing a major event or change.  If you are facing severe fines or jail time, you should especially seek out an attorney. While you can fight a parking ticket by yourself, you might start to think “Do I need a lawyer for my case?” if tickets start accumulating and a warrant is issued.  Some of the more minor cases can also be solved by mediation or alternative dispute resolution to avoid any legal conflicts.

Even if you think that you have enough information and credibility to defend yourself, sometimes people get the butterflies in front of the judge or do not know proper protocol. Representing yourself in court requires a great deal of research and paperwork which would normally come through an attorney.

A good lawyer can prepare you for your case, tell you what you can expect, explain when things should happen, estimate costs, go over the pros and costs of trial vs. settling, and will acknowledge that you are in charge.

How do I find a lawyer?

If you are asking “How do I find a lawyer” and no one in your inner circle of friends or family has any suggestions, you can always use the Maricopa County Bar Lawyer Referral Service to find the right match for you. Many attorneys use the service to find lawyers in different practice areas to refer their clients to.

If you use the referral service, you just need to fill out an online request form, or speak with someone about your legal matter. The service will then match you with a lawyer who is a good fit for the nature of your problem. You will need to pay one-time, non-refundable fee per lawyer you talk to, should you have multiple concerns.

After you find an attorney and pay the referral fee, you will have an appointment to speak with your attorney for advice and legal options. After your meeting, you may decide if you wish to hire him or her, with no obligation. It’s a good idea to bring paperwork and contact info for people related to the case with you, in case the attorney wishes to go over it before getting started.  You may also want to bring a notepad to jot down notes during the meeting.

What should I look for in a lawyer?

When you’re wondering what to look for in a lawyer, it’s important not to settle with someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with you. You will be working with this person, possibly over a prolonged period of time, and should trust them and value their opinion.  Seek out someone you feel comfortable with as you will be working closely with them throughout the case.

The credibility of the lawyer is also an important factor, does this person specialize in the areas of law that you require counsel for? How long have they been practicing law?  Be wary of people who promise a win to you since law is never that cut and dry. Find someone who can point out the strengths and weaknesses in your case.

Sometimes a smaller firm might be best, since it can expect more dedication to your case as opposed to larger entities who juggle multiple cases at a time. A big firm will not necessarily deliver the personalized results of a smaller firm, but may hold a solid reputation and influence within the court room.  Make sure you weigh the pros and cons before you sign a contract, also utilize the internet to help you make a decision. Avoid baseless personal attacks on review websites.

What questions should I ask?

When you are meeting with a potential attorney for your case, you should have a list of questions to go over, some of which they may not be required to answer. A lawyer will also have a set of questions for you, and to make sure they are the right person to handle your case.

First off, find out about the person’s experience and background:

  1. How long have you been practicing in this area of law?
  2. Have you been involved with a case like mine in the past?
  3. Who will be working on this case? This is important because the attorney you may speak with may not handle your case personally, and may assign other people like paralegals to work on it.

During this time you may ask him or her for a reference from a past client. Although they cannot give you names without consent, they can ask their former clients to call you as a reference. Competence is not a guarantee when you hire a lawyer, so make sure to do your research, and find someone who is prompt and helpful when you call or email. Depending on who is working on your case, you might have some more questions regarding communication:

Is phone or email the best way to contact you? Will I get charged for any correspondence between you or other staff members?

Who will be my primary contact, and what is their position?

How will you be contacting me about developments in my case?

Will I receive copies of the documents used in court?

After you talk about their experience and communication, now it’s time to talk about fees.

How will fees be calculated? Is it a flat fee, contingent, or hourly?

Is there a written agreement for representation that I can read?

If I decide to get a new lawyer before the matter is resolved, what happens to any money which I advanced and has not been spent on legal services?

Do you charge a contingent fee, and what does that cover?

What expenses will I be charged for expenses or overhead?

How much should I expect to pay?

When you are looking for an attorney, make sure you can afford their services. You can find out about his or her costs during your initial meeting. Find out how they are charging you, as some lawyers can tend to drag out a case in order to get more legal fees. Try to get an estimated figure in writing, especially with a contract that will help you avoid any unwanted expenses. The document should state how you will be billed and may require an itemized statement.

The cost of each case will vary depending on the type, and the parties involved. If it’s a relatively simple ordeal, it could cost a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Larger, more complex cases can go upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure your fee seems reasonable before you decide to go all in, as finding a new lawyer can be a bigger expense.