No More Phonebooks: Teaching Idiots to Find A Lawyer

I was supposed to review Larry Kelter’s new book, Back to Brooklyn this week, but that’s gonna get put off until Monday so I’ll have the weekend to actually, you know, finish the review. That sort of left me without a post yesterday, which is the main reason I’m getting one up on Thursday. If you’re not a fan of that, go to hell. I’ve been a little busy managing my goddamn mountain of furries and a few new cases that I picked up over the past week.

Both of which gave me a great idea, namely, how to identify a lawyer that you want to hire as opposed to an asshole like me that’ll want you to hire them. Apparently, looking through the Twitter feeds of idiots, I’ve discovered that too goddamn many people have absolutely no idea how to contact an attorney that doesn’t appear on a billboard or a mid afternoon commercial. This is a fucking issue, because people, and especially the subset of people defined as clients (those mouthbreathing morons) are attracted not to professional advertisements, but rather to eye-catching ads designed to rope you in.

This means that some folks are going to bad lawyers.

So, while I generally fucking hate clients and believe they deserve all the misery they’ve brough on themselves, I’ve decided that this one’s for you, Mr. Idiotic Lawsuit Bringer. Let’s talk about how you can skip right over the shitstains that populate the legal profession and hire an attorney who’s worth a damn.

Use Fucking Google.

Seriously. Use fucking Google. I’ve hear so many of you assholes yelling about “not knowing how to find a lawyer.” Google a goddamn lawyer in your area. Trust me, you’re going to get a good number of results.

So you want to narrow that the fuck down. Figure out what type of case you may have and add that into the search term. Google, for example, “Criminal Defense Lawyer Houston Texas” and not just “Houston Lawyer.” Oh, and ignore the paid posts that pop up. The ability to fucking stick yourself under a sponsored listing at the top of a Google page isn’t an indication of your legal skills, it’s an indication that you can pay for the advertising dollars.

Ask Your Friends and Family.

After Googling lawyers, you need to start talking to other people, and you need to start with the people that you know. I guaran-fucking-tee you that you have friends and family members that have used a fucking lawyer in the past. I never understand the hesitance to go to a friend or family member and ask them is they’ve ever used a lawyer and if they know of any lawyers that you could talk to. These are lawyers that people you fucking know have experience with, and unless you’re the type of shitstain who gives away $1.00 gift cards to restaurants located five states away at Christmas, they probably aren’t going to send you to a malpractice beacon shining on Shitty Lawyer Hill. They’ll steer you towards an attorney they know and trust.

Sidenote on this one, you’re looking for lawyers that your friends and family have actually fucking used in the past. You are not looking for their “Buddy Jim who just passed the bar and could really use the work.” Fuck that guy. You don’t want to go to their buddy, you want to go to the lawyer that they’ve actually used in the past.

Trust me, clients don’t like us any more than we like them most of the time, so if a friend or family member is satisfied enough to send people to their attorney, it’s a heavy fucking endorsement. And if by chance that referral doesn’t work to your advantage, there are plenty of law firms like Eatons who have lawyers for almost anything you might need a lawyer for, so it can’t be that difficult.

Go Back to Google, and Research.

So you’ve got a list of names. That’s fucking awesome. I bet now you’re going to make multiple goddamn appointments and go to each one in order to figure out if you want to hire the lawyer.

Don’t asshole. Go back to Google. I swear to god, you people sit the fuck around and spend half your goddamn life on the internet these days, so it fucking amazes me how often you don’t want to use the goddamn internet when you’re doing something that matters. You think this impulsive fucking nature of yours may be part of the reason your ass is in a legal conundrum?

I want you to search the names you have. Most of them will have websites. I want you to go to those websites, then go to the section that says “Attorney Profiles.” Read about the goddamn lawyer you’re going to see. While this is a sanitized version of their life story, it will give you an idea of whether you think you’ll work well with the attorney or not. Also, don’t expect to see their fees on the site. We don’t post that shit. You’ll pay what you need to pay, and we’ll charge what we need to charge.

Here’s a caveat, though: Don’t get hung up on appearances and bios. This really is a high-level thing. Most of us don’t give a shit what your background is or where your case is coming from, we care if your money’s fucking green. Still, it’s good to know if you think a lawyer will work with you before you go in.

Don’t Put Too Much Stock in Internet Reviews.

Seriously. You know who gets on the internet to leave those reviews? People who are fucking pissed off in the first place. You will almost never find a good review of a lawyer on Google, Yelp, etc. because the satisfied clients are just happy we helped them, but hell hath no fucking fury like an idiot who believes they’ve been scorned.

Likewise, you can’t even trust the good reviews. Why? Because we’re manipulative bastards and we will ask a satisfied client if they’re willing to leave us a review on a website. That’s how we are. This is how the game is played.

So you can’t trust the internet outside of getting a name and address, and let’s say you don’t have any friends or family…or at least none that have legal troubles. All you have is a list of attorneys who may handle your type of case from Google. What now?

Check the Disciplinary Board.

You know lawyers are a self-regulating profession, right? And you know that each and every one of us has a record and a board that oversees the shit we do, right?

Well, did you know that most fucking states publish our disciplinary records online in one form or another, normally in a nice little searchable database? If you didn’t, get your ass back to Google and search something like “[State] Lawyer Discipline.” It’ll pop up with a website that, somewhere on it, will have a link to a searchable index of attorneys. Cool, now start searching your top four or five picks from that Google search to determine who among them has sinned.

Call the Office for an Appointment.

Nothing is more fucking infuriating than someone who walks in off the street to meet with a lawyer when they could make a goddamn appointment. Why? Because, and I’ll put this mildly, we’re fucking lawyers and we’re fucking busy. Maybe you’ll get lucky and I’ll be able to meet with you when you walk in, but it’s just as likely I’ll be up to my eyeballs in shit I need to get done or out of the office and you’ve therefore missed your chance to meet with me. So, call the fuck ahead and schedule an appointment.

Oh, yeah, there’s another reason you should call the fuck ahead: it gives me a chance to talk to you about your potential case over the phone without you having to come in and pay me. Shit, sometimes it’ll even allow me to say “I don’t handle that, but I know a guy who does. Do you want his number?” I don’t refer people to shitty lawyers. No lawyer will refer people to shitty lawyers.

Don’t Be Fucking Cheap.

This is really the last fucking point I have to make. Some lawyers will offer free consultations, some lawyers will offer free consultations sometimes, some lawyers will offer discounted consultations, and some will demand you pay their hourly rate at the end of the consultation. You want the best lawyer you can afford regardless of which of these fucking things they do. This is why you call the fuck ahead, so the lawyer can tell you whether they can handle the case, and what type of consultation structure they’ll use. But at the end of the day, if you like the lawyer and you think the lawyer’s good, don’t fucking run away because of the price. A legal matter is serious fucking business, it isn’t like shopping for shit on the internet where you can price match or negotiate a fee. You need to be willing to pay.

If you can’t pay, you need to be willing to ask people for help in paying. Keep a budget in mind, but realize we’re trained professionals, and you have to be willing to pay us for our time.

Follow Up?

Yeah, yeah, I’ll do a fucking follow-up next Wednesday. I’ve already talked to lawyers about “How to Assess a Case,” so I guess you assholes get a post about how to not make a lawyer run screaming away from your fucking case.

Tomorrow is the first Freaky Friday, where I’ll talk about a legally haunted house.