Locating the Right Attorney
Locating a good lawyer who can efficiently help with your particular problem may not be as simple as looking in the phone book. More information is needed than these types of sources give to help you make a valid judgement. Nolo.com and their book, Encyclopedia of Everyday Law give some helpful hints.
- Friends and business acquaintances whose judgement is trusted are good sources for finding an attorney. Perhaps someone you know has experienced the same problem you have and can recommend a lawyer.
- Perhaps you know an active or recently retired lawyer or judge. They would be able to inform you as to an attorney's reputation in the current legal community.
- Talking to other people in your community who have experienced the same problem may generate some leads.
- Business who provide services to key players in the legal area you are interested in may also be able to identify lawyers you should consider. For example, if you're interested in small business law, speak to your banker, accountant, insurance agent or real estate broker. These people come into contact with lawyers who represent business clients and may be in a position to make informed judgments.
This online directory at the Missouri Bar can verify whether a lawyer is in good standing. Every lawyer in Missouri who is in good standing with the Supreme Court of Missouri is included in this directory. One item to note is that this directory lists active and inactive lawyers. Inactive lawyers are in good standing with the Supreme Court of Missouri but are not eligible to practice law in Missouri.
This annually published directory is the oldest and best known of those available today. It includes lawyers practicing in the United States as well as 159 other countries. Despite its enormous size, however, not all practicing attorneys are listed. In order for an attorney or firm to be included in this directory, they must send the appropriate information to the publisher. But if they are listed, they are rated according to their degree of legal skill and whether they follow the highest ethical standards. The ratings are based on confidential written evaluations by practitioners and judges in the position to know the given lawyer.
Martindale also provides an online directory that is the most frequently used lawyer directory on the Internet.
This site also belongs to Martindale Hubbell, but it differs from the preceding web site because it targets individuals and small business people. This site allows searches to be narrowed to those attorneys practicing a particular specialty in a given locality. It also has links to help you determine whether you need a lawyer, how attorneys bill their clients and how much they charge as well as a list of questions to ask an attorney before you decide to retain them.
State Bar Associations Lawyer Referral Services
There are three different lawyer referral services in the state of Missouri.
- The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to attorneys statewide, except for St. Louis and Springfield. Their office is located in Jefferson City and they can be reached at 573-636-3635 or fill out a form online here. For a $25 administrative fee, you'll receive up to a 30-minute consultation with an attorney who handles the type of legal problem you face.
- The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Lawyer Referral and Information Services serves the metropolitan St. Louis area which consists of the city of St. Louis, the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson, and the Metro East Illinois area. They state on their website that during the past year, they made more than 13,000 referrals to lawyers and other agencies and services. Contact them at 314-621-6681.
- The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association has on online directory broken into over fifty categories of law. Selecting a category will give a listing of lawyers in this area.
Here are a few other sources you can turn to for possible candidates in your search for a lawyer.
- The Missouri Bar Association provides several client resource guides that are freely available on their website or your local library may have free copies.
- The director of your state or local chamber of commerce may be a good source of business lawyers.
- The director of a nonprofit group interested in the subject matter that underlies your lawsuit is sure to know lawyers who work in that area. For example, if your dispute involves trying to stop a major new subdivision, it would make sense to consult an environmental group committed to fighting urban sprawl.
- A law librarian can help identify authors in your state who have written books or articles on a particular subject -- for example, construction law.
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