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Need a lawyer? Go with who you know

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


How do you find a good lawyer? Phonebook, Internet or television might work. But I have a better suggestion.

Do you know a lawyer from the neighborhood, gym or church? If you like her, call her office. Not sure she handles the kind of problem you have? Donít worry. Call her anyway. I bet she will be happy to point you in the right direction if she doesnít handle that type of case. Thereís a good chance she can answer some of your questions and refer you to an attorney that she knows practices in that specific area.

Were you happy with your last lawyer? Did you like and trust him? If so, call him back with your new problem. Donít over think it. Just because you hired him a decade ago to prepare your will doesnít mean he isnít able to handle your personal injury case. Call him. Remind him that he helped you years ago. Describe your situation and see what he says. If itís not the kind of case he handles, he will tell you. He should be able to give you his recommendation for one or more lawyers that practice in your needed area.

Some lawyers work within a narrow area of the law. If they spend most of their time filing lawsuits or drafting contracts, then thatís what they do. For example, there are some attorneys who just handle divorce cases. But there are also attorneys who handle divorces as well as personal injury, criminal defense and bankruptcy cases.

You probably wonít find a foot doctor who dabbles in brain surgeries. If you do, run. But you will find lawyers who represent clients in a variety of forums and practice areas. There are still lawyers who are the legal equivalency to family docs. Just as the family physician is equipped to help patients with a wide array of ailments and illnesses, there are lawyers who assist clients with many different types of legal problems. The trusted family doctor knows when to refer you to a specialist, and so should the lawyer.

The next time you are looking for a lawyer, try calling the one you already know.

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