Using the Internet to Search for Legal Counsel

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The internet is an enticing avenue for seeking legal counsel because it offers instant and seemingly comprehensive results. Regardless of your specific legal concern, please keep in mind how the internet will hinder you and how it can help you.

The internet might also make it tempting to do the legal research entirely yourself; lawyers are perceived as an exclusive group, and they can be expensive. Do not forget though, that the purpose of law school is to train experts in their respective legal specialties. Law is complex, and lawyers have resources that most of us do not have access to, and would not pay for in any case. And the cost to retain a lawyer is variable. In general, whether you pay for a law practitioner, hire a law firm, or are awarded a public defender, the depth of their knowledge justifies the cost.

For the most part, searching for a lawyer on the internet is as random as thumbing through the phone pages. The listings in either case can seem endless, and your eye is drawn to the biggest and flashiest ad. That is not an informed way to find legal counsel.

The internet compounds the issue because of how ads are paid for. For example, pretend your twenty-year old son in college has gotten himself into trouble and needs legal counsel. He lives in Chicago and you live in Boston. It would make sense to google search for something like Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Tip! In states that limit non-economic damages, attorneys are a bit more selective, concentrating on cases with significant physical and psychological damages (not just emotional distress or pain and suffering). That means both plaintiff and defense attorneys increasingly rely on legal nurse consultantsfor assurance that they’re making the best business decision in each case they take on.

Your search results are going to be confounding. On the same results page, you will have both paid ads and referral agencies that will help you find a lawyer. The first listing among the paid ads is simply going to be the law firm or lawyer that paid the most to advertise there. So while the search gave you what you asked for, the truth of the matter is, you are not going to be better prepared to identify a lawyer than picking arbitrarily.

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You might have better luck with the links to the referral websites that will at least allow you to customize your search by specialty and narrow your search down by your individual needs. Many of these websites are paid for by a specific group of lawyers, and therefore offer referrals at no cost to you.

If you take either route, paid ads or online referral sites, please keep in mind three things. One, most lawyers are only licensed in specific states so make sure you specify where the legal action is taking place. Two, lawyers often specialize in a particular area of law. Because the body of law is so immense, it makes them more effective practitioners if they specialize in one or two specific areas, so you should ask if they specialize in the area of law related to your case. Three, lawyers usually require a retainer to begin work on your case, but you can almost always negotiate a total cost from the beginning, which includes the retainer. Just tell the lawyer your financial circumstances up front and be honest about it.

Tip! Determine if there is chemistry. In addition to legal expertise and a track record in your area of need, you will need to form a good working relationship with your counsel.

Probably the best method of finding a lawyer is to ask for a recommendation from someone you trust. However, if you resort to using the internet in your search, try a couple of different links to compare information on different lawyers. Do not be afraid to click on a paid ad, even if it is further down in the search results. Remember, the first ad result paid more than the other advertisers. There is no reflection on the quality of the service they will provide.

Although I do not endorse a particular referral service, here are three websites you might try.
Findlaw.com
Martindale.com
Lawyers.com







Andrew Marx uses his legal education to provide practical information on how the everyday person can access legal resources. His weekly column can be read at www.smartremarx.com/

Tip! Most medical malpractice cases legal nurse consultants consult on involve significant economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost earning capacity. These high-dollar cases will continue to keeplegal nurse consultants busy.


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