How to Evaluate Law Firms to Find the Right One for Your Needs

You may think that the only people who need to go shopping for law firms are those who have gotten into trouble with the law, or those who run their own businesses. Yet, many people have a need for legal services more often than you might expect. For example, you may need a lawyer to help with a child custody case, to help you settle a dispute with your employer, or to challenge an insurance settlement.

When these issues arise, you may feel overwhelmed by trying to find the right attorney. With so many options out there, how do you choose the right one? Here are a few things you can do to evaluate the different firms and find the one best one suited your needs:

Area of Practice

Lawyers are not generalists. They may have learned about all aspects of the law in their education, but attorneys specialize in a specific practice area. Therefore, if you need help with a divorce matter, you should not go to a firm that has experience with family law. If you are being sued for injury caused by neglect, you shouldn’t go to a divorce expert. Look, specifically, at places that offer services specific to your problem. If you aren’t sure, call and ask.

Years of Experience

If you are dealing with a complex matter, you don’t want someone representing you who has just graduated or has only a few years of practice under their belt. You want someone who is experienced enough to have the expertise and the connections to get you results.

Most law firms list their associates on their websites, including the specific education, practice areas, and years of training for each person. You can get a good sense of the kind of representation you would expect at that firm.


Some law firms charge a flat fee for representation while others charge a percentage of the settlement. For example, in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, it is common to not charge a fee up front, but rather to take a cut of the settlement. Most of us don’t have the funds for a large retainer, so the percentage model is usually more affordable.

Just make sure that all the fees are clear up front. Some places might bill you by the hour, which can be unpredictable if the case goes on longer than expected or becomes more complex. If the fees are too much for you, the firm may be willing to negotiate a payment plan with you.

Research your options thoroughly, and you will find the right representation to help you protect your rights and get a successful outcome for your case. These are just a few things you can do to evaluate law firms. You also can’t underestimate the value of an in-person meeting and checking your “gut feeling.”

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