If you are in a situation in your life where it is necessary to hire an attorney, expenses can be at the forefront of your mind. Opening the phone book or searching the internet for a lawyer will give you more results than you will know what to do with. Here are two tips for finding the right legal representation for you.
Finding Representation You Can Afford
The average cost of a lawyer in the United States is $284 per hour. When many people hear pricing in that ballpark, they will immediately begin looking for the cheapest option available. This is a mistake. While $284 may be the average, it is simple enough to find something more affordable. If you live in a small town or rural area, even the top law firms will generally charge much less than the national average.
Another way to get top flight legal advice for a lower rate is to find an attorney who is just getting started. Young lawyers know they cannot charge as much as their more experienced counterparts. They are also more willing to negotiate their rates, as they need every client they can get to grow their business. A final option for those in search of legal representation, is to contact your local bar association. The bar association is in charge of licensing all attorneys, and many will offer programs where potential clients can consult with lawyers for little or no fee.
Explore Unusual Options
Nearly every law school in the country offers clinics to provide legal advice to those who can’t otherwise afford it. It provides a wonderful learning experience for students, and a chance for justice for clients. While many people are wary of having a student attorney, the fact of the matter is that fully licensed lawyers, with years of experience, supervise the students every step of the way. Schools offer clinics that specialize in criminal, family, environmental, tenant, and employment law, to name a few. Generally, they are free to the client. Along with law school clinics, there are a number of legal nonprofits that offer similar services for little or no charge. Their specialties can be as specific as copyright law for musicians, or as broad as civil rights and public interest for all citizens. The purpose of these organizations is to help people.
There are a lot of traditional and nontraditional options for legal representation. To find the type that is right for you, schedule a meeting. Sit down, explain your problem, and see what they say. Find out if they normally handle cases like yours, and how often. You will be working quite often with whatever law firm you decide upon, so make sure that you get along. Be open about your budget as some lawyers are open to negotiations. Talk with your local bar association, nonprofits, and schools. Find a young lawyer with excellent grades who just graduated. There are a lot of affordable options out there for all price ranges.