How to Find and Hire a Lawyer

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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So you have a legal problem and you want an attorney to help you deal with it. What next? Your first step is to decide what type of attorney you will need. The nature of your problem will help define the type of lawyer you need. If you are not sure which field of law your problem falls, ask an attorney or call your local bar association or local law school to point you in the right direction. Any licensed lawyer can generally take on any type of matter within the state(s) he or she is admitted to practice.

But not all attorneys are equally skilled or qualified to practice in any area. There are those that offer a wide array of services (simple contracts, forming a nonprofit, uncontested divorces, probating a simple uncontested will); then there are those that cater to specific areas, such as criminal or personal injury issues, family, estate planning, or bankruptcy. In some states, there are certification programs for lawyers that wish certification for areas of legal expertise or specialization. A few go even further and become more narrow sub-specialists (such as pharmacy law, eviction law, dog law or poverty law).

There are also those that are plaintiff oriented versus defense. For example, an attorney who represents employees often does not represent employers. The same thing applies to landlord-tenant cases.

Once you’ve figured out what type of lawyer you are looking for, you’re ready to start searching for the right fit. Review the related articles below for additional information about finding and assessing lawyers and attorney fees. 

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