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Usually, you should hire an attorney when you become involved in a lawsuit. While you  may do it yourself (e.g., acting pro se), hiring an attorney usually avoids costly  mistakes. Initially, you have a decision to make, which is what type of attorney do you want? Do you want an attorney who does a little bit of everything, or one that  specializes in lawsuits and trials? The type of attorney you hire may also be dictated  by geographical concerns. If there is not a suitable attorney that you want to hire  within your community, you may need to travel to find one. 

You may be wondering where to look for an attorney. A good place to start is to ask  people you know and trust if they have ever used an attorney in the past. Referrals  are usually the best way to find an attorney. However, there are other methods. For  example, social media is becoming more and more prominent: Facebook, Instagram,  and Twitter are all common places to find attorneys. Simply search the relevant  hashtags you are looking for such as #attorney, #lawyer, etc., for your community.  Other places to look are: Google (of course!) and Martindale Hubbell (it has a service  that reviews and rates lawyers), www.martindale.com. Other third-party sites are  available, such as www.superlawyers.com, www.avvo.com, www.linkedin.com, and so  on. 

Another good method to finding an attorney is to search for reviews online from  former clients. This often can tell you how you can expect to be treated by the  attorney you are considering hiring. Are the reviews favorable? Do they state that the  attorney was attentive and responsive to the client’s needs? Was the outcome  favorable? These are all things you should consider when deciding whether to hire a  particular attorney. 

Some people use the Yellow Pages, but I find it is less relevant as the rise of social  media becomes more prominent. You may find that you cannot find a good lawyer in  the Yellow Pages. Look for advertisements that promote a lawyer representing you  in your area of dispute. Questions to ask an attorney before you hire them are: will the  attorney collaborate with another attorney in his or her office? Will there be paralegal  support, which may drive down the fees charged? Are there others in the firm who  can fill in for the attorney when needed? All of these are additional considerations. 

Another primary consideration in finding an attorney is determining (to the extent  possible) what your fees will be or what they attorney will charge for the  representation. For example, will the representation be hourly? Find out exactly what  the hourly rate is for the attorney. Does the attorney bill to the nearest tenth of the  hour, or does the attorney bill in “blocks” of time? Compare the attorney’s quoted rate  to others you have checked. Find out if the attorney requires an advance (sometimes 

known as a “retainer”). Is your bill to be paid in full each month? If not, will the attorney  charge you interest? Is there a grace period of 30 days or so before you have to pay,  or is payment due immediately upon receipt of the attorney’s bill? Can you pay with a  credit or debit card? Can you pay on the attorney’s website? 

Sometimes attorneys charge a flat fee. Is the attorney open to charging this? If so,  what will it be? How is the attorney calculating the flat fee? Does it include a possible  appeal? What is the scope of the representation? 

You may also want to ask if there are alternative ways to pay that are acceptable  under law. For example, can the fee be contingent on the outcome? This usually  arises in the context of a personal injury case where an attorney will take a  percentage of the recovery, if any. In certain circumstances, contingent fees are not  allowed (such as in family law cases). Find out if there will be a separate agreement for the contingent fee. Make sure you read it completely and ask your attorney any  questions about it.