Finding the Right Attorney

When I introduce myself as an attorney, the first question I usually get is do you do __x__? If __x__ is not something I do, the next question is often how do I find a good lawyer or do you know any good lawyers that do __x__? I always offer to help connect people with the right lawyer for their situation. But since this is a question many people seem to have, I figured I’d address it with a post. So, are my thoughts on finding the right attorney.

First, Make Sure You Understand What You Need Help With

You want to find the right person for the job. But, do you know what job you need done? That might sound like a silly question, but often times people do not have a clear understanding of what they need. Therefore, they end up looking for a solution in the wrong place. For example, consider a parent who wants to ensure that their house goes to the oldest child if they pass away. They may think the best way to do that would be to put the deed in their child’s name. As a result they begin searching for an a real estate attorney. In actuality, the best solution may be to put the property into a revocable trust. In which case, they would want to find an estate planning attorney.

Understanding the problem and the potential solutions is the first step to finding the right attorney. If you don’t understand the problem, you’ll have a hard time finding the right person to provide you with the a solution. This is why I offer free 15-minute consultations. It gives people the opportunity to explain their situation to a professional who’s primary concern is helping them find the right solution. Anyone who reaches out to me can trust that I will do what I can to help them find the right attorney for the job, even if its not me.

Qualities to Look For in an Attorney


The first quality I look for is whether the attorney has the know-how to provide a solution. When you reach out to an attorney or law firm, don’t be afraid to ask questions. What solution would they propose? What process do you have to go through to get to this solution? Are there any alternatives? You’re interviewing them for a job that is probably very important to you. If they want your hard earned money, they should be willing to spend some time answering your questions.

Pay attention to their answers. If they’ve handled a situation like yours before, they should be able to give you a heads up about what you can expect. They should be able to inform you about the steps they will take, what is likely to happen, and the potential pitfalls. However, make sure your expectations are reasonable. Every situation is unique. Don’t expect the attorney to guarantee you a particular result. Attorneys are not fortune tellers.

Finally, in my opinion, no answer is better than a vague one. What do I mean by that? Well, believe it or not, attorneys don’t know everything there is to know about the law. Even attorney’s who are experts in their particular area will encounter new situations from time to time. When that happens, an honest person will tell the truth — they don’t have an answer, but they can find one. As long as they don’t give this response too frequently, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. To me, it is a sign that they are willing to put their clients’ needs ahead of their ego. I’d be more hesitant to work with someone who tries to answer a bunch of questions I didn’t ask instead of just telling me they don’t have an answer to my question at the moment. They are trying to hide their lack of knowledge, which raises concerns about their trustworthiness.


As much as possible, its important to get a sense of how well an attorney communicates with their clients. As I see it, there are a few important aspects to communication that people should look for when searching for the right attorney.

First, there’s accessibility. How easy is it to get in contact with the attorney or someone else who can address your concerns as they arise? Second, is frequency. As you’re working with the attorney, how often do they plan to provide you with updates? Checking out reviews can be helpful for gathering this information. You can also ask the attorney how they typically operate. Listen not only for their response, but how it is delivered. Do they confidently commit to returning your calls the same day? Or are they hesitant to commit to anything? One red flag to look out for is difficulty getting in contact with the attorney before hiring them. If you can’t get a direct response before you give them your money, what should you expect after you’ve retained them?

Finally, there’s listening ability. The attorney-client relationship is a partnership. The attorney works with/for you to solve the problem. The attorney possesses the legal expertise, which is vital to getting a solution. But as the client, you provide expertise on the situation. You know who did what. You know how the other parties feel and why. Only you can say what is most important to you when it comes to finding a solution. So it is important to pay attention to whether an attorney is listening to what you’re saying and appropriately valuing your perspective. Don’t put your trust in the hands of someone who isn’t willing to take the time to fully understand your perspective.

To summarize, when you are considering hiring an attorney, get a sense for how they like to communicate with their clients. Then consider whether this aligns with your expectations.


One factor people often fail to consider when choosing an attorney is demeanor. Finding an attorney whose demeanor matches your own could save you some frustration down the line. Allow me to use myself as an example.

When it comes to resolving disputes, my philosophy is that any solution the disputing parties can come up with will be better than what a judge/court is going to give them. To summarize what I wrote in a past post on mediation, an agreement between two parties is the only path to a win-win solution. Therefore, I am looking to facilitate an agreement. As a result, I am a strong believer in open and honest communication, and I am against doing things solely to antagonize the other side. Someone looking to avoid a trial, and the expense and drama that comes with it would find my style to be a good fit. Someone with very strong negative feelings towards the other side in a dispute — who not only wants to win, but wants to see the other person lose — would probably be disappointed with how I handle cases.

In short, be honest with yourself. Are you looking for a pitbull or a peacemaker? Everything else being equal, both types can get results. But, a lawyer who doesn’t match your demeanor might have difficulty meeting all of your expectations.

Finding the Right Attorney

In the end, all of the thoughts I shared above are simply food for thought. Like any new information, feel free to take it or leave it according to what suits you. However, I will give one suggestion that is fitting for any and every situation. Trust your gut. We all have an innate ability to sense what feels right and what doesn’t. When it comes to finding the right attorney, trust your instincts. More than likely they will lead you to the right answer about whether or not you can trust the person you’re dealing with to get the job done.

Remember, at M. Zane {+} Associates, our focus is matching people with solutions. Even if I’m not the right person for the job, I’m happy to help you find someone who is. If you need help understanding your options or finding the right attorney, give us a call at (267) 475-7052 or schedule a time for us to call you for a free consultation.