Some people go through life never needing to find a lawyer. Some need quite a bit. For those that haven't needed any in the past, when the need does arise, it can be an emotional and confusing time. Some people may feel a bit panicky and not know what to do. For those people, don't just open the phone book and call the first lawyer whose ad attracts your attention. There simply is not enough information in an ad from the phone book to allow you to make a reasonable decision. Try to calm yourself if you're upset, and follow the pointers that follow.

Referrals from social or business acquaintances are a common source of information about lawyers. Someone may have had a similar case with a successful outcome and furnish the name of the lawyer who assisted them with their case. While this is a good starting place, don't depend on just the referral. Always schedule a meeting with any prospective lawyer to find out if you would be comfortable working with them.

Another valuable source of information is from legal directories. These can be found in public libraries or online. lists lawyers by state. Martindale-Hubble is another well-known directory. Your state bar association should also not be overlooked as a source. Again, these directories should not purely be the basis of your decision.

The director of your local or state chamber of commerce may be helpful if you need assistance in the area of business law. Librarians in law libraries may be know of lawyers who have published information in the specialty you need. Support groups are another possible source of useful information.

While for many cases, a general practitioner possesses the necessary skills to manage your case, sometimes a specialist is required. It's not always easy to find a lawyer with the particular skill set you will require. As an example, there may be fewer than 50,000 lawyers trained in small business law out of the nearly one million lawyers in the U.S.

Once you have the names of several prospective lawyers, schedule some personal interviews with them. These personal interviews are an important step to help find an attorney. In many cases, if you give them some idea of the nature of your legal problem, they won't charge you for the initial interview. The purpose of the personal meeting is to determine whether or not you think the attorney can represent your interests properly, and to see if you think you will be able to work together.

Perhaps the most common complaint about lawyers is a failure to be available to their clients. In the interview ask directly how long a response will take if you need them for advice or information. Be sure not to skip this question. If you're losing sleep because you can't get the advice or information you need when you need it, neither yoou nor your lawyer will benefit.

Check with your prospective lawyer if you plan on using them just a way of checking your business agreements and contracts, and see if they are agreeable to that kind working relationship.

When you need to find a lawyer, if you have made the effort to find the right one, you will rest easier knowing that you have found the right one to protect your interests.