BBB offers tips for choosing a lawyer

With over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, about 38,000 to choose from in Ohio, it can be difficult to choose one. It can be even more difficult to find one that specializes in the legal issue you’re dealing with. Choosing a lawyer should be done wisely and thoroughly.

Not only will you be sharing confidential information with this person, but you’ll also be putting trust in him or her to offer proper legal advice and guide you through a situation you wouldn’t otherwise be able to navigate on your own.

Better Business Bureau offers advice for choosing a lawyer:

• Look at online testimonials and reviews. Also, ask family and friends for recommendations about who they’ve used in the past.

• Consider contacting your local bar association. Bar associations often make referrals according to specific areas of law, helping you find a lawyer with the right experience and practice concentration.

• Meet with more than one lawyer before choosing who to hire. Find out ahead of time if there is a charge for a consultation.

• Determine what exactly your legal issue is and focus on that specialization for a lawyer. Lawyers have a range in specializations in the law world. Some cover real estate law, while others pursue business, family, intellectual property, immigration, employment, accident/injury, bankruptcy, criminal or civil rights law.

• Look for a lawyer who is familiar with your regional laws. It can also be important to find someone close to you so you can develop a trusted, face-to-face relationship.

• Decide what size law firm is right for you. Larger firms will have a more established business and more resources, but likely will cost more. Smaller firms may have limited resources, but will be more personable and could be cheaper.

• Ask the lawyer for a quote, as well as how they bill their clients. It could be an hourly fee, a flat rate, a contingency fee, a negotiable fee, or possibly even a retainer for future fees.

• Make sure the lawyer will have enough time to be able to focus on your case.

• Make sure the lawyer draws up an agreement stating all terms and details of the case and your client relationship. Before signing the agreement, read it thoroughly and ask questions

For more information about lawyers, visit BBB.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. BBB can provide a list of BBB Accredited lawyers and Business Profiles on ones you may be considering.