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Hiring a Lawyer

This guide provides information on where to find a lawyer, how to effectively work with your lawyer, and how to resolve attorney-client disputes.

How do I find a lawyer?

If you haven't hired a lawyer before, the process can seem overwhelming. To begin your search, consider looking at legal directories and legal referral services. They provide information about qualified attorneys in your area. 

Legal Directories

Many national, state, and local bar associations publish directories of their members. Commercial companies and nonprofit organizations also publish directories. You can often refine your search based on criteria like location, language, and practice area. This can help you find an attorney who aligns with your preferences.

Lawyer Referral Services

If you don't want to look through the listings yourself, an attorney referral service can come in handy. You'll briefly describe your situation and get referred to an attorney who specializes in similar types of cases. 

In Texas, only governmental entities and and nonprofit organizations can operate a referral service. The matching and a 30-minute consultation will cost you $20 or less. After the initial consultation, the lawyer's standard rates will apply.

Personal Recommendation

A trusted friend or family member may be able to recommend a lawyer based on their previous success. Personal recommendations can be helpful if the case is of a similar type. A lawyer who helped someone with a divorce may not necessarily have expertise in preparing a will.

Online Searches, Ads, and Social Media

Many lawyers and law firms have a website or a social media presence. This can be a convenient way to find a lawyer, but there are many impersonators and scammers pretending to be someone else. Common red flags include:

  • a lawyer who refuses to meet in person;
  • asking for a payment upfront, especially in gift cards, money orders, or cryptocurrency;
  • creating a sense of urgency.

The articles below discuss how to identify and avoid online fraud.

How do I choose the right lawyer?

It's important to choose a lawyer you can trust. The right match is a personal decision, but you may find these important:

  • expertise in a specific subject;
  • a track record of successful cases;
  • a good reputation;
  • the right communication style;
  • transparent pricing policies.

Lawyers often offer the first consultation for free. This allows you to get to know them better and ask questions. If you don't feel confident, there is no obligation to sign a contract. The articles below provide examples of questions you may ask and qualities you should look for. 

What if a lawyer refuses to take my case?

The initial consultation is a two-way street. The lawyer wants to make sure the case is a good fit for them too. Lawyers refuse to take cases for a number of reasons, including:

  • the case is outside their area of expertise;
  • the statute of limitations has expired;
  • the case is unlikely to hold up in court;
  • litigation will be too expensive;
  • the opposing party is unlikely to pay if you win.

If a lawyer declines to take your case, you can always ask why. The information can help you determine how to proceed. You may have to gather more evidence or see an attorney who specializes in a different area of law. Some cases, however, may be unrealistic. If you think you have a good case, it's always a good idea to get a second (or third) opinion.