Many people associate lawyers with criminal cases because those are the types of legal cases commonly featured on television. There are several different types of lawyers, include family law attorneys, corporate lawyers, criminal lawyers, and estate-planning attorneys.
Lawyers are legal experts who must earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and pass the bar exam before they can practice law. During their studies, they choose a field of law to specialize in. There are several reasons you may need to hire a lawyer, and how you proceed will depend on the reason you need an attorney.
Determine why you need a lawyer.
The type of attorney you need will depend on the reason you need a lawyer. You’ll need an estate planning lawyer if you want to prepare your last will or assign a family member medical power of attorney in the event you’re unable to make medical decisions for yourself. If you’re buying property, you’ll need a real estate lawyer.
Let’s say you need a legal separation or are considering divorce, and you live in San Diego. Perform a Google search for “San Diego divorce attorneys” to locate experienced family law attorneys in your area. If you need to pursue a divorce case, you will need a divorce lawyer who understands family law and has experience fighting divorce cases. Your divorce lawyer will gather evidence, talk to witnesses, and prepare legal documents on your behalf. They may file for your divorce in court if you’re in initiating the divorce, or they may prepare a response to your spouse’s filing. Your divorce attorney will guide you through every step of the divorce process and help you negotiate property division and spousal support, if applicable.
A family law attorney can also help you fight a child custody case. You may still need to go to court to settle child custody and secure child support even if you never married your child’s other parent.
You may need a different type of attorney if there are other reasons you’re seeking legal representation. Let’s say a family member is looking for someone and asks you what to do if they find out someone is in jail. You may need to help them find a criminal attorney if they need to help get someone out of jail or prepare for a trial. If they’re searching for a missing person, you could advise them to Google “how do I find out if someone is in jail” and use the tips provided to confirm whether the person is in jail. Their legal needs may vary depending on whether they are in a local jail for a minor offense or have been convicted and sent to federal prison.
Search for law firms in your area.
You can begin your search for an attorney by asking friends or associates for referrals. If you know someone who’s been through a divorce and was happy with their settlement, you may be able to ask them for the name of their divorce attorney. If you know someone who buys real estate regularly, they may be able to give you the name of a reputable real estate lawyer.
You can also perform online searches to identify law firms in your area that handle the legal services you need. Your first step is preparing a list of law firms you’re considering. The next step is to look for client reviews online or check with The American Bar Association to learn if any of those attorneys have been disciplined. You may opt to remove those attorneys from consideration.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential attorneys, you should seek a free consultation from each lawyer you’re considering. Lawyers will ask questions to ensure a conflict of interest doesn’t prevent them from representing you. For example, if a lawyer represented your spouse on another legal matter, they won’t be able to handle your divorce case against your spouse.
Lawyers are legal experts who can help you prepare legal documents, represent you in court, and provide legal guidance on personal matters. You must clarify why you need to hire an attorney first. Once you determine which type of attorneys handle the legal issues you have, you can seek referrals and investigate local legal firms online. You can also seek a free consultation with each attorney you’re considering to ensure you find an experienced lawyer you’re comfortable with who’s qualified to handle your case.