There are lots of places to look,
some personal (your brother-in-law Fred) others, like bar association
lawyer referral services, more generic.
Networking produces great lawyers as well as hidden jobs. Northern Virginian attorney Laurie Dolson estimates that 75% of her clients are referred by other attorneys. If you have a friend whose lawyer helped save his chocolate factory from the IRS, get the attorney's name and mention the satisfied friend when you call.
Ask about the lawyer's "people
skills" and organization as well as professional knowledge.
You're looking for a package of skills, including things like
returning phone calls and keeping you updated on your case.
Diplomas and honors blanketing a wall won't do you any good
unless they're used to solve your problem.
Ellen Soroka, Administrator of the Lawyer Referral Service for the Fairfax County, Virginia Bar, gets about 18,000 phone calls a year, and tells clients to "make sure your attorney is knowledgeable and experienced in your area," but wisely points out that "not every situation needs Clarence Darrow."
Soroka feels that there's a competent attorney out there for virtually every need, and proudly recalls the time she found an attorney to seek justice for the owner of a $50 dress mauled by a dry cleaner.
Next: What should I look for?