Hiring a lawyer isn’t always easy. Depending on your situation, you might not even know whether you need an attorney (though if you’re considering whether you need legal help, that’s a fairly good indication that you’ll need representation). To find a specialist who can provide advice or other help, you’ll need to research carefully. That starts with an online search. By comparing local attorneys, you can find affordable legal services that offer dependable results.
On average, an attorney costs about $300 per hour. However, pricing varies depending on your state, the lawyer’s area of practice, and dozens of other factors. Of course, paying more for a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting better service.
And while professional legal help can be expensive, great representation can pay for itself. A qualified attorney can give you peace of mind while navigating complex issues, saving you time, stress, and money. Comparing lawyers will help you make a more knowledgeable decision.
When looking for a lawyer online, ask these questions:
Smaller law firms may provide more personalized services, which may be helpful in a divorce or other negotiation-based proceeding. However, a larger firm may be appropriate if your case will require significant amounts of time; larger firms have more resources that can be targeted to different aspects of your case (for instance, legal assistants to summarize transcripts or handle other responsibilities).
Many attorneys charge upfront consultation fees, followed by an hourly rate; to employ their services, you may pay a retainer along with retainer fees. Medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys may charge contingency fees (the attorney’s fee is based on a percentage amount of the judgment). Make sure you understand all of the fees associated with each option.
Generally, you’ll want a specialist if you’re hiring an attorney for a particular type of case. Specialists may exclusively handle DUIs, personal injuries, medical malpractice, custody disputes, divorces, and other types of cases.
Many law firm websites showcase information about previous cases. Look through these to find cases similar to yours. Find out whether the law firm specializes in negotiating settlements or winning judgments. Depending on the nature of your case, you might prefer a great negotiator to an effective trial lawyer.
Remember, lawyers are meant to solve your legal problems — not create new ones — and most people will want to compare at least 3-4 options before scheduling a consultation.
The search for legal help can feel overwhelming, but following certain guidelines can simplify the process. Some qualities to consider when reviewing attorneys in your area:
Communication and Comfort - When dealing with sensitive legal matters, you need someone in your corner that you can trust. You’ll need a legal team that communicates with you and understands your case. Look for user reviews when researching attorneys, and if you have questions, reach out through the firm’s website. If you’re not able to get a quick response, you may want to move on.
Experience - Look for information about the attorney’s education and case history. Make sure they’ve handled cases similar to yours; if you’re looking for a divorce attorney, for instance, make sure that your lawyer specializes in family law in your state. Experienced attorneys may have better tools for negotiating settlements, picking juries (for cases tried in front of a jury), and persuading judges. If you have concerns about an attorney’s experience, ask for references from previous clients. If their cases were similar to yours, they may provide useful insights to guide your decision.
Take your time when choosing an attorney. Use a variety of resources when researching, and don’t trust any single source — including this article — to provide all of the information you’ll need to make your decision.
By searching online, you can find experienced attorneys in your area who are equipped to handle your case. Whether you’re filing for divorce, negotiating a settlement, or defending yourself against a criminal complaint, a reputable lawyer can make the process much easier.
Visit several law firms and compare as many options as possible. Remember to ask questions about each attorney’s case history and fee structure, and most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable with your legal team before proceeding. The right approach can help you find attorneys that will give your case the time and dedication it deserves — without overextending your budget.