From Shakespeare to Jay Leno, lawyers are the subject jokes. According
to the jokes, lawyers are unprincipled, lawyers over bill and lawyers
too often tell clients what the client already knew. The truth is that
some lawyers fall within this stereotypical characterization. Run away
from these attorneys as fast as you can!

There is another group of attorneys, however, who you need. These
lawyers are advocates for you when you are in trouble, counselors for
you when you have difficult decisions to make and experts who know the
intricacies of the law. These lawyers are ones you should seek out and
hire — before you even need a lawyer.

Too often, individuals, even sophisticated business executives, wait
until there is a crisis to hire a lawyer. When the crisis occurs,
people scramble to find legal help. As a result, people in need may
turn to the first lawyer they find. While one may get lucky and find an
effective advocate on the first try, a search for a lawyer is best
undertaken before the crisis occurs.

If there is no crisis, a person can approach the selection of a lawyer
with calmness and reason. The prospective client can consult their
other trusted advisors. Insurance agents, accountants and financial
planners often work with lawyers and will gladly give a name of a
competent lawyer. So, too, will business executives you work with,
provided that they like their lawyer. Ask your friends as well.

In looking for a lawyer, one should also consider the internet. If you
Google a few key words, including the location and type of lawyer you
want, you will get a list of names. Check out the lawyer\’s website to
see if there is up to date information on the website. Check to see if
the website of a law firm gives you a sense that the lawyer has
expertise and experience.

You should also check out the attorneys at martindalehubble.com and
bests.com. These sites can help you see how the legal community views a
lawyer and provides ratings for lawyers. Review the credentials listed
to determine if the lawyer meets your needs.

Then, of course, you need to narrow your list. This is often the most
difficult task. You should consider the credentials, but also get a
feel for the attorney. If you feel that an attorney\’s credentials seem
too pedantic for your needs, delete that one from the list. If you feel
in your gut that you would click with that person, star the name.

After you narrowed the list, you should contact the attorney. You may
be able to attend a seminar that the attorney is giving in that area.
Otherwise, call the attorney. Most attorneys are willing to speak with
a potential client without charge for a short period of time. In such a
conversation, you should get a sense as to whether you can work with
that person.

Finally, you should have a face to face meting with the lawyer. At that
time, you have a list of things you want to discuss, including fees for
services. Although you should understand the fee structure, do not let
pricing be the determining factor in selecting a lawyer. After all, a
person with cancer would not select a doctor only by looking at what
the doctor charged.

Finally, one should periodically evaluate whether one\’s lawyer meets
one\’s needs. Sometimes, clients outgrow their lawyers. Sometimes the
lawyer no long clicks with the client. Sometimes the relationship no
longer works. When that happens, one should begin a new search for a
new lawyer before a crisis occurs.

Facebook
Ms. Lambert rose to national prominence as a litigator with a focus on insurance law in an age when there were few women litigators, particularly in the area of insurance law. Ms. Lambert has spent the last twenty years developing what is now recognized as one of the largest insurance practices in the state of Maryland. She lectures nationally, has received a gubernatorial appointment in the field of insurance, and is sought for her advice by Fortune 500 companies.