Advice from locating licensed attorneys near you to selecting the right attorney for your case
According to the Alabama State Bar, there are more than 14,000 active lawyers in Alabama. Although this sounds like a lot of lawyers, there are almost 5 million people in the Cotton State.
Years ago, finding a lawyer meant opening up the Yellow Pages. For better or worse, that’s not how it’s done anymore. Even if you’re able to locate a copy of the Yellow Pages, you won’t see many ads for attorneys.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about finding the right lawyer for your personal injury case, including where to look for free or reduced-cost attorneys.
Do I need an attorney?
Before you start searching for an attorney, it’s fair to ask yourself whether you even need an attorney.
If your accident didn’t result in any injuries or the injuries were minor, you may not need an attorney.
However, you should be careful when concluding that you weren’t seriously hurt in an accident.
Symptoms, including those associated with serious internal injuries, may not appear until days, weeks or even months after an injury. Once you accept a settlement from an insurance company or at-fault party, you won’t be able to sue for additional damages if you later learn that your injury was more serious than you originally thought.
Fortunately, most attorneys offer free initial consultations. These consultations allow you to talk through the details of your accident with an attorney who can then tell you whether you have a legitimate legal case or not.
In short, it’s almost always a good idea to at least meet with an attorney after an accident.
How do I find an attorney?
We’ve already established that flipping through the Yellow Pages isn’t the best way to find a competent attorney in your area. So what are your options?
Let’s take a look at a few resources that can be used to locate qualified attorneys in Alabama.
Friends, family and colleagues
Some attorneys rely almost exclusively on word of mouth. Before turning on your computer, pick up your telephone and check with friends, family and trusted colleagues to find out if they can recommend an attorney.
One of the benefits of finding an attorney through someone you know is that you can ask the person questions about the attorney that you might not be comfortable asking the attorney or a stranger the attorney provides as a reference.
Of course, you may not know anyone who has needed an attorney, or you may not be comfortable sharing the fact that you need an attorney. Fortunately, there are other options.
You can type “Alabama personal injury attorney” into a search engine, but you’re going to receive lots of unhelpful results.
A better way to quickly find a licensed attorney in Alabama is to use an online directory—such as the free online directory right here on Enjuris.
The Enjuris lawyer directory allows you to search for licensed attorneys throughout the state of Alabama. Each attorney’s profile page includes useful information, such as contact information, main practice areas, attorney bios, links to videos, and whether the attorney offers free initial consultations. If the lawyer has contributed articles to Enjuris, those articles will show up as well.
Another online directory is the Alabama State Bar Directory. Every attorney licensed to practice in Alabama is required to be listed in this directory.
Although you can’t browse a list of attorneys near you, you can also search for an attorney by name. Once you click on an attorney’s profile, you’ll be able to view their contact information as well as their disciplinary history.
The Alabama State Bar also operates a telephone referral service. To use the service, call 1-800-392-5660 or (205) 251-8006 (if you’re located in Jefferson County).
You will be asked to state the reason you’re seeking an attorney. A representative will then provide you with the name of a lawyer located near you who is available.
Attorneys who participate in the referral service agree to charge no more than $50 for an initial 30-minute consultation.
Free or reduced-cost legal help?
There are a number of organizations that provide free or reduced-cost legal services to qualifying individuals.
Each organization has different eligibility requirements, but generally, your household income must be less than 125 percent of the federally recognized poverty level.
Here are some organizations to contact if you think you may qualify for free or reduced-cost legal help:
- Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham(205) 250-5198
- Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program(256) 539-2275
- Montgomery Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program (Montgomery County)(334) 265-0222
- South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program (Mobile, Baldwin, Washington and Clarke counties)(251) 438-1102 or (855) 997-2857
- Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program (all other counties)(888) 857-8571
- Legal Services Alabama(866) 456-4995
Choosing the right attorney
Finding a handful of qualified attorneys near you is a good 1st step, but how do you decide which attorney to hire?
Personal injury cases can take years to complete. Accordingly, it’s important that you choose more than just a qualified attorney. You need to choose an attorney you respect and with whom you can communicate well.
Enjuris Partner Attorney
To find the perfect attorney, consider meeting with a small handful of attorneys. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations.
Here are some questions you can ask that will help you get to know the attorney better:
- How long have you been a lawyer?
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to my case type?
- Are you comfortable going to trial?
- Will I be interacting directly with you or someone else?
- What do you need and expect from me during the legal process?
- Can you provide me with references?
- How much will it cost to hire your firm?
Q. What should someone look for when trying to find an attorney?
A. When someone believes they need an attorney, they really should find someone experienced in the area of law they need representation with. Google reviews can be important indicators of past clients’ experiences. I would also ask friends and family for recommendations.
Preparing for your first meeting with an Alabama personal injury attorney
Once you hire a specific attorney, your attorney will want to meet with you to discuss your case in detail. The more efficient you can be during meetings with your attorney, the more time your lawyer can spend on your case and the more quickly your case can be resolved.
Here is a worksheet to review so you can make sure your first meeting is a productive one: