Tips for Finding the Right Attorney for You

Your Legal Resource takes the pain and expense out of searching for an attorney. After discussing what your legal needs are, we connect you with the right legal professional. There is no cost to the client to utilize our services, since we are paid a referral fee by the attorneys we recommend if you decide to hire them. Our team of attorneys are all specialists in their respective areas of the law and we know each of them personally and know how they treat clients.

If you choose to search for an attorney on your own, you may want to keep these guidelines in mind.

Get two or three referrals of attorneys from people you respect, such as your financial advisor, accountant, close friend or business associate. Then interview the attorneys by phone briefly to set up a consultation with the ones you feel comfortable with. Then make the decision about which attorney to hire. Some attorneys offer an initial consultation at no charge. Ask about this ahead of time so you are prepared for any fees at the time of the interview.

If you find an attorney through an internet search, or if you have any questions at all about this person’s qualifications, check to see if they are a member in good standing with the State Bar of Michigan, or other state in which you are seeking their services. Every state has a Bar Association and you can call directory assistance to find this number. The State Bar of Michigan office is 1-800-968-1442.

Whether you find the attorney through a referral or the internet, always determine their area of specialty to be sure they are knowledgeable about the field of law in question. (i.e. Elder Law, Family Law, Probate/Estates/Wills and Trusts, etc.) Utilizing Your Legal Resource can help you save time and money screening lawyers. We only recommend reputable attorneys with the expertise needed to handle your specific legal matter.

Ask about their billing practices. Do they bill on an hourly, flat fee, or contingent fee basis? If hourly, do they bill in tenths of an hour or other increments? Is a retainer required up front, and if so, how much? It’s best for your protection and theirs if your attorney/client fee agreement is in writing and signed by the attorney and the client, so there are no misunderstandings. Address any concerns or questions about billing issues immediately so you don’t waive any rights.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You hired this expert to assist you and if you don’t understand him or her and don’t know your rights, then they aren’t properly assisting you. If you have any disputes or questions about the way your case is being handled, address it immediately. Most attorneys are happy to work with their clients and would rather you be open and honest with them if you perceive any problems. Your Legal Resource acts as a liaison between the client and the attorney we connect you with, and we can be used as a sounding board or second opinion when needed.

If telephone communications break down, you have several options. First send a letter to your attorney in writing stating your particular question or concern and ask for a phone call or letter within 10 days addressing your concern. If you don’t get a response, you might want to consult with another attorney so that you don’t jeopardize the status of your case, especially if it is in litigation and time is of the essence. The new attorney can send an order of substitution of counsel to the prior attorney relieving him/her of his/her duties as your attorney. You may still have existing fees due to the first attorney and you should take care of those fees. You are still bound by the attorney/client fee agreement you signed. However, your file in the first attorney’s office is considered your property and you have the right to have it copied by your first attorney and given to you. Then you can make it available to the next attorney. In extreme cases, grievances or malpractice actions may be warranted. Your local bar association or State Bar Association can provide the contact numbers of the grievance commission in your area or refer you to malpractice attorneys.

For More Information about selecting attorneys, or for a referral to an attorney for your specific case, contact us for a free consultation.

Lori T. Williams

Lori T. Williams is an attorney based in Birmingham, MI, licensed in 1989.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs.