when choosing a lawyer...

The following is a list of suggestions that might help you as you seek to choose a lawyer to speak with about your potential legal problem:

  • Ask friends, teachers, employers, co-workers, ministers, relatives, neighbors or anyone you trust which lawyer(s) they have used and if they did a good job.
  • Many online resources are available for selecting a lawyer in your geographic area and in the area of expertise you need.
  • Contact your local bar association such as the New York State Bar Association or the Westchester County Bar Association to determine if they offer a referral service. Most local bar associations have a presence on the Internet or in your local phone book.
  • Go to your local public library and ask for the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. It lists most lawyers and their area of practice within your community.
  • Ask other lawyers for referrals in areas in which they do not practice.
  • If you are experiencing financial difficulties and are concerned that you cannot afford a lawyer, call your local legal aid or public defender's office to see if you qualify for representation.

Below are some questions that may aid you in your discussions with the lawyer as you seek to determine the length of time expected to solve your legal problem.

  •  Ask the lawyer how long it has taken him/her to bring cases similar to yours to a conclusion in the past.
  •  Ask if your case involves issues more complex than his/ her previous cases and whether or not that will affect the expected time to bring this case to a conclusion.
  • Ask if there are any legal time limitations which restrict the length of time you have to bring an action. If there is no way to predict how long this matter might take, what are the reasons for that? Ask if there is anything you can do to speed up the process.
  • What results can I expect? What do you expect to accomplish?
  • Ask the lawyer to explain the law as it relates to your case and the effect which existing laws may have on your case.  It is extremely important that both the client and lawyer fully understand each other with regard to the results expected.  This should play a big part in determining whether or not the cost and the time involved in pursuing the matter are worth what is expected as a result.