Finding a good lawyer can be difficult. To top everything off, how do you know that the lawyer you found is even legitimate? Here are a few things to check:
Be Sure to Check State Licensing Websites
If your prospective attorney is actually licensed to practice law in the state where you need legal representation, the attorney’s license information will be publicly available on a government website associated with the state of licensure. If, for example, you have been charged with a crime and need a criminal defense attorney in Florida, check to make sure your Florida attorney actually has an active Florida law license. If your prospective counsel is not licensed to practice law in Florida, you will need to find someone else to represent you in your case.
Ask Your Friends, Family, Professional Colleagues, Acquaintances or Anyone Else You Trust
When in doubt, you should talk to the people you trust the most. Odds are good that at least one of your friends, family members, neighbors, professional colleagues or acquaintances has had a legal issue requiring legal representation come up at some point. They may be able to recommend a specific lawyer or firm you should hire, or direct you to a local bar association or state bar association website that lists names of law firms and attorneys who could potentially help you out with your case. Perhaps even more importantly, if they had a bad experience, they can tell you which lawyer or firm you should make sure to avoid hiring.
Search for Third-Party Rating Services Where the Lawyer May Have a Profile
As there are in most industries, there are third-party rating services for attorneys and law firms. If you find a criminal defense attorney you think you want to retain, check these services to see how others have rated your prospective attorney and read any comments people have written about the experiences their own experiences with the attorney or the firm where the attorney works. Whether they are good, bad or mediocre, these reviews will shed some light on how the attorney treats clients and handles various issues that come up in litigation.
Some good places to check are FindLaw and even Facebook.
Review the Lawyer’s Website and Compare It to the Lawyer’s Competitors’ Sites
If the website looks unprofessional, makes grandiose promises about the results you will get, lists outdated contact information or has outdated information listed in the Florida attorney’s profile, you should rightly be a little bit skeptical and resolve to do a little more digging on your own. Maybe updating the website was not a priority, or maybe it just was not in the firm’s budget. But there could be more going on that you need to know about, so do some comparison shopping to save yourself from potential headaches down the road.
Use Google and Other Internet Search Engines to Get a More Holistic View of Your Prospective Attorney
Google is where most people turn when they want to know just about anything. You should treat your search for an attorney far more seriously than you would treat your searches for which nearby restaurants are still open or where you should get your car’s oil changed, but the process you employ to conduct the search should be pretty similar.
Do searches for your attorney, the law firm where your attorney currently works and any other law firms or companies where the attorney has previously been employed. If you are comfortable with the results of your searches, move forward with retaining the attorney to represent you in your case.
Lucky for you, the Florida Defense Team checks all of those boxes!