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How do I select an attorney?
June 25, 2009 9:27 PM   Subscribe

How do I select an attorney?

I am searching for an attorney to advise me on a difficult situation related to my already-finalized divorce. I do not know any lawyers, and the only lawyer I have ever been personally recommended has an hourly rate in the stratosphere. Is there a reliable way to select a lawyer? It seems that client reviews on web sites that provide such functionality are few and far between in my area, and I feel I may have already been burned on a few occasions by simply selecting one at random. Are there any resources available to help me make this decision?

On the off chance that anyone here wants to make a recommendation, I am in Knoxville, Tennessee.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Call your local bar association.
posted by bunnycup at 9:28 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


This attorney has standard advice--ask another attorney.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:31 PM on June 25, 2009


If you have some sort of social group familiar with community interactions, perhaps nonprofit, I would ask them for a recommendation. For example, I would recommend AARP to find an attorney for my mom, and California Lawyers for the ARts to find one for me. So think of a local social organization and get a list from them.
posted by effluvia at 9:44 PM on June 25, 2009


www.martindale.com

Search, get a list of lawyers, check out websites or start calling around.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 10:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Fortunately, you mentioned the type of legal issue you have. Go to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and search for AAML members in your area.

Another approach is to call your local or state bar association and ask who the members of the family law committee/sections are. Those folks are the ones who know their stuff because odds are they're practicing it everyday. Those are the ones you want to hire.

Either method, grab a few names and start calling. Expect to pay for a consultation; you're trying to hire a specialist.

Be careful of the big, national referral sites like martindale and findlaw because they have "sponsored" links that are easily misconstrued as rankings. I remember when sales reps would come to my firm and offer us the chance to be listed #1 for the entire state in particular practice fields for the low, low price of whatever it was that day. They've refined their approach, but it's still basically poorly disclosed paid adverts IMHO.
posted by webhund at 11:08 PM on June 25, 2009


Well, you've gone and posted Anon, so here's the MeFi-Mail I was going to send you offlist:

Whatever you do, don't hire someone because Aunt Irene said that he/she did a great job for her when bulldog lawyer took Uncle Bob to the cleaners, the referral you get from Neighbor Nancy, or whoever Reverend Ralph says to use. Family law is, as we say in my office, where you get to see the world's best people acting at their absolute worst. It's true.

Get a list of names from objective sources (see uplist ideas), get a feel for them and whether they fit your situation, and then, as IronMouth suggests, ask other attorneys what they think of Attorney X or Y doing family law work. Real quick you'll know who to go with or not go with, which is just as important.
posted by webhund at 11:16 PM on June 25, 2009


This is how I've ALWAYS found the best attorneys and doctors. Call up a reputable doctor/attorney (whatever you're looking up) in a TOTALLY separate field. If you want real estate info, call up a labor lawyer...etc. Ask that lawyer for a real estate specialist. He'll hook you up.

Its easy to find reputable lawyers...go to the library and ask that underutilized librarian to find out what periodicals local attorneys, read (not cases...just "whats going on in law"). No doubt, there will be tons of profiles of local attorneys. Call 'em up.

No doubt, this is NOT the most efficient advice...but it will get you a first rate attorney.

And by the way...calling up the state bar does no good. They can get you a list of lawyers...even a list of specialties...but they CANNOT endorse one attorney over another.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:01 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Previously (but my no means "complete").
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:02 AM on June 26, 2009


by no means
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:03 AM on June 26, 2009


hal_c_on beat me to my standard advice. The reason it works is that the one you call is not going to try to grab the case for himself. But it works best if you call a solo or small-firm lawyer. A large-firm lawyer will probably direct you to someone else in his firm. You want an unbiased recommendation.
posted by megatherium at 3:17 AM on June 26, 2009


I will third the advice of calling up a solo firm of an excellent attorney in an unrelated field for a recommendation. Also, calling your local law school is an excellent way to find an attorney. Just pull up the school website and search for who teaches a class in "Family Law".
posted by 2legit2quit at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2009


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