As I write this blog, there is a stack of directories from the Yellow Pages by my building’s front door on the Upper West Side. It has been sitting there for the last two days completely untouched while busy New Yorkers went to work and walked passed it coming home. Finally, this morning I decided to break open the package and get my copy of the Manhattan Yellow Pages. I couldn’t help but open up the listings for legal services to find pages and pages of names, addresses and phone numbers.
As I was drinking my morning coffee, I was wondering how many people these days actually use the Yellow Pages to find their attorney– or for any type of service for that matter. I fully admit that there is still a large segment of the food and agriculture industry is not online. These folks would be more naturally inclined to using the local Yellow Pages. However, if you are reading this blog then I am assuming you are internet savvy. Even so, a quick Google search might not find the best attorney for you. So where do you start?
First of all, ask trusted friends and family if they have any recommendations. It is one thing for an attorney to have an eye-catching website or big ad in the Yellow Pages but is another for an attorney to have already achieved positive results for somebody that you know. However, this recommendation does come with a big caveat: simply because an attorney did a great job handling a particular matter for a friend or family member does not necessarily mean that he/she will be able to assist you with another type of legal issue. That said, if you feel comfortable doing so, asking friends and family members for recommendations is great starting place. Perhaps the recommended attorney will know another firm that can better assist you with your problem.
Second, depending on your specific legal issue, I would next contact various agriculture groups or bar associations in your state. To illustrate, there are several state Farm Bureaus that publish lists of agriculture attorneys and/or offer attorney referral programs. When doing so, however, ask that organization how that particular attorney or firm got on that list and whether they have any knowledge of the attorney’s experience and expertise. If there is a referral program or discount that is offered, try to understand the terms of that program. For example, if an attorney who belong to that referralprogram are forced to give significantly reduced rates it is possible that attorney may not be as attentive to your concerns as clients who are paying his/her normal rate.
Third, the internet is next logical stop in your search for a qualified attorney to handle your specific issue. There are a variety of websites that contain attorney listings including (but not limited to) Justia, Avvo, Martindale, Findlaw, and LegalMatch. Albeit lightweight, there are also some lawyer classifieds on Yelp and Citysearch. Some New Yorkers can find attorneys in neighborhood directories (e.g., Upper West Side or Upper East Side). True to the Web 2.0 era, I also encourage you to be open to finding an attorney on social media websites like Twitter or YouTube that allows attorneys to demonstrate their knowledge, passions, and personality. Your search can be quickly narrowed if you understand the practice area and the type of expertise that you are looking for.
These are some suggested search methods. Compile a short list of attorneys that you would like to call for a consultation. Do your homework on those attorneys the best you can. My next blog post will include suggested questions during the consultation to see if that attorney is best for you.
"This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before relying on the information in this blog."