Tips for Choosing a Lawyer

LawyerWhen choosing a lawyer, you want to find the right one for your situation. Here are some tips to help.

  • Determine if you need a general practice lawyer or an estate planning specialist. For basic needs such as a simple will or trust, a reputable general practice lawyer typically can do a good job usually at a lower cost than a specialist. If you have more complex needs, then a lawyer specializing in estate planning may be best.

  • Ask several people you trust which lawyers they've used and if they did a good job. Personal recommendations are often the most satisfactory means of identifying candidates that will be a good match for your needs.

  • Other sources may be the local or state bar association. The State Bar of Wisconsin provides a Lawyer Search for your benefit. Another source is the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory available at your local library or online at

  • Lawyers usually specialize in one or more areas of the law so you want one that is experienced in your area of need.

  • Talk with more than one lawyer before choosing. You want a lawyer that you are comfortable with since you will be providing them with very personal information. For example, if you aren't comfortable asking questions or the answers you get aren't to your liking, keep looking.

  • Ask up front what the lawyer's fees are for the services you desire and if there might be any additional charges. Once you've chosen a lawyer, you should agree on the fee arrangement up front and in writing.

The FTC fact sheet Hiring a Lawyer? provides more details about these tips.

You may belong to a group legal plan through your place of employment or through your membership in an organization. These plans provide legal services at a reduced cost or free.

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