Think about the last best restaurant you ate at. How did you find the restaurant? Chances are really great that you received a referral. Whether you searched Yelp, or Google, or received a referral from a friend, many of us seek out recommendations or referrals for finding a good restaurant. Why should finding an attorney be any different?
While sites like Avvo, Google, or other databased can help you find attorneys, many people are unaware of how those sites rate lawyers or where they get their rating from. Lawyers can have a 10.0 rating on Avvo without having a single review from a client. Google can raise a lawyer’s visibility based on how much they pay for marketing. All you need to know about finding an attorney is to have used an attorney you liked before or have one trusted friend or family member who has. That’s the secret.
Your first call should be to the attorney you know. If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, call your estate planning attorney anyway. Call the lawyer you know. Most lawyers are involved in bar associations (clubs for lawyers) and have a network of other lawyers that they know who handle the type of case you have. Although I practice family law and bankruptcy, I have trusted colleagues that handle tax matters, real estate transactions, immigration issues, criminal matters, or even personal injury cases. Additionally, with my work with The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, I am able to connect my clients with lawyers all around the state of Florida, other states, and even other countries. If I do not have an immediate connection for you, I can find one. Call the lawyer you know.
If you do not know of any attorneys and have not had to use one previously, find a trusted friend or family member who has. Ask them if they liked their attorney. Ask them if they had a good experience. If so, have them call the attorney’s office up and request a referral or a recommendation. You may also call the attorney’s office yourself. Let the staff know that you are a good friend of ____ and that you would hope they could give you a referral or a recommendation for a lawyer who handles _____.
If you do not know of any attorneys and you do not have a trusted friend or family member who has, make sure you use a reliable referral source to find a lawyer. A reliable referral source is The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service. The Florida Bar is the regulating agency for all Florida lawyers. They are who attorneys pay their dues to. The Florida Bar regulates attorneys. You can request a referral to a lawyer online 24 hours a day or over the phone Monday to Friday from 8:00a.m. to 5:30p.m. More information on The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service can be found here: https://www.floridabar.org/public/lrs/.