Best Lawyers Guide is your number one online source for all your attorney needs nationwide! From personal injury and divorce lawyers to tax and nursing home abuse lawyers, we provide links to all kinds of attorneys ready to help you right in your area. Our site is easy to use and and you’ll find it very helpful in your search for legal advice.
From the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find the right attorney for your specific needs with just a couple clicks of your mouse! Using the map to the right, click on your state to choose from a list of lawyer types in your area.
You’ll have the opportunity to view several attorneys in your area that can best help with your needs.
When searching for the best lawyers to represent your case, keep the following tips in mind:
- Field of Practice. Be sure to seek an lawyers who specializes in the type of law you need. Some lawyers will work on all types of cases, but the best lawyers are those who specialize in a single area. Use this site to identify what type of specialist will be the best lawyers for you.
- Years Practicing. Again, it’s vital that you seek out an lawyers who has a significant amount of experience practicing in the area of law that you need help. The best lawyers have distinguished themselves in their area of expertise over many years or even decades.
- Reputation. A good way to judge who the best lawyers are is to look to their colleagues. Are they respected by other lawyers and by judges in the area? This indicates they are honest, well-established and work well with others. Their relationships may help your case. You can also seek out previous clients to learn about their experience working with an lawyers.
- Resources. Lawyers who are part of a large firm have assets that smaller firms cannot offer. Some of the best lawyers are not in large firms, but being part of a large firm means your lawyers will have the money to cover their costs up front. If your case is complicated, the best lawyers for you would be one in a large firm. Lawyers from small firms may be tempted to settle if they cannot cover the costs of your trial. A large law firm also boasts support staff to aid in research for your case.
- Track Record. Be sure to research among the best lawyers to determine which ones leave their clients most satisfied. Referrals from people you trust in the community are a good way to find the best lawyers for you.
- Your instinct. Ultimately, finding the best lawyers for your case comes down to your own judgment. Does the lawyers respond to your phone call promptly? Do they seem to care about your problem? Do you feel that they are listening to you and expressing empathy? The best lawyers will the one who puts you at ease because you know they have your interest at heart.
Within this site, you’ll find explanations of the different types of lawyers as well as listings of the best lawyers for each type. Browse the following categories to determine which type is the best lawyers for you. Click on the links to learn in-depth about each type of case and the best lawyers for your needs.
A Little About The Type of Work Attorneys Do
The legal system affects nearly every aspect of our society, from buying a home to crossing the street. Lawyers form the backbone of this vital system, linking it to society in numerous ways. For that reason, they hold positions of great responsibility and are obligated to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors in our society. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients concerning their legal rights and obligations and suggest particular courses of action in business and personal matters. Whether acting as an advocate or an advisor, all attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the law to the specific circumstances faced by their client.
The more detailed aspects of a lawyer’s job depend upon his or her field of specialization and position. Although all lawyers are licensed to represent parties in court, some appear in court more frequently than others. Trial lawyers, who specialize in trial work, must be able to think quickly and speak with ease and authority. In addition, familiarity with courtroom rules and strategy is particularly important in trial work. Still, trial lawyers spend the majority of their time outside the courtroom, conducting research, interviewing clients and witnesses, and handling other details in preparation for a trial.
Lawyers may specialize in a number of areas, such as bankruptcy, probate, international, or elder law. Those specializing in environmental law, for example, may represent interest groups, waste disposal companies, or construction firms in their dealings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other Federal and State agencies. These lawyers help clients prepare and file for licenses and applications for approval before certain activities may occur. In addition, they represent clients’ interests in administrative adjudications.
Some lawyers specialize in the growing field of intellectual property, helping to protect clients’ claims to copyrights, artwork under contract, product designs, and computer programs. Still other lawyers advise insurance companies about the legality of insurance transactions, guiding the company in writing insurance policies to conform with the law and to protect the companies from unwarranted claims. When claims are filed against insurance companies, these attorneys review the claims and represent the companies in court.
Most lawyers are in private practice, concentrating on criminal or civil law. In criminal law, lawyers represent individuals who have been charged with crimes and argue their cases in courts of law. Attorneys dealing with civil law assist clients with litigation, wills, trusts, contracts, mortgages, titles, and leases. Other lawyers handle only public-interest cases—civil or criminal—which may have an impact extending well beyond the individual client.
Lawyers are sometimes employed full time by a single client. If the client is a corporation, the lawyer is known as “house counsel” and usually advises the company concerning legal issues related to its business activities. These issues might involve patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property interests, or collective bargaining agreements with unions.
A significant number of attorneys are employed at the various levels of government. Lawyers who work for State attorneys general, prosecutors, public defenders, and courts play a key role in the criminal justice system. At the Federal level, attorneys investigate cases for the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies. Government lawyers also help develop programs, draft and interpret laws and legislation, establish enforcement procedures, and argue civil and criminal cases on behalf of the government.
Legal Aid Lawyers
Other lawyers work for legal aid societies—private, nonprofit organizations established to serve disadvantaged people. These lawyers generally handle civil, rather than criminal, cases. A relatively small number of trained attorneys work in law schools. Most are faculty members who specialize in one or more subjects; however, some serve as administrators. Others work full time in nonacademic settings and teach part time.
Lawyers are increasingly using various forms of technology to perform their varied tasks more efficiently. Although all lawyers continue to use law libraries to prepare cases, some supplement conventional printed sources with computer sources, such as the Internet and legal databases. Software is used to search this legal literature automatically and to identify legal texts relevant to a specific case. In litigation involving many supporting documents, lawyers may use computers to organize and index material. Lawyers also utilize electronic filing, videoconferencing, and voice-recognition technology to share information more effectively with other parties involved in a case.
Working Conditions of Lawyers
Lawyers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. They sometimes meet in clients’ homes or places of business and, when necessary, in hospitals or prisons. They may travel to attend meetings, gather evidence, and appear before courts, legislative bodies, and other authorities.
Salaried lawyers usually have structured work schedules. Lawyers who are in private practice may work irregular hours while conducting research, conferring with clients, or preparing briefs during non-office hours. Lawyers often work long hours, and of those who regularly work full time, about half work 50 hours or more per week. They may face particularly heavy pressure when a case is being tried. Preparation for court includes keeping abreast of the latest laws and judicial decisions.
Although legal work generally is not seasonal, the work of tax lawyers and other specialists may be an exception. Because lawyers in private practice often can determine their own workload and the point at which they will retire, many stay in practice well beyond the usual retirement age.
However, in the age of the Internet, many lawyers have chosen to work strictly in an “online” environment. This means they have chosen to only do consulting via online forms, emails, and phone calls. There are attorneys who have set-up dozens of websites in almost every field of law they practice and are charging a nominal hourly fee to consult with clients.
Attorneys & Lawyers – Facts About Training & Accreditation
To practice law in the courts of any State or other jurisdiction, a person must be licensed, or admitted to its bar, under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. All States require that applicants for admission to the bar pass a written bar examination; most States also require applicants to pass a separate written ethics examination. Lawyers who have been admitted to the bar in one State occasionally may be admitted to the bar in another without taking an examination if they meet the latter jurisdiction’s standards of good moral character and a specified period of legal experience. In most cases, however, lawyers must pass the bar examination in each State in which they plan to practice. Federal courts and agencies set their own qualifications for those practicing before or in them.
To qualify for the bar examination in most States, an applicant usually must earn a college degree and graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or the proper State authorities. ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its library and faculty—meets certain standards developed to promote quality legal education. As of 2019, there were 203 ABA-accredited law schools; others were approved by State authorities only. With certain exceptions, graduates of schools not approved by the ABA are restricted to taking the bar examination and practicing in the State or other jurisdiction in which the school is located; most of these schools are in California. In 2014, seven States—California, Maine, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming—accepted the study of law in a law office as qualification for taking the bar examination; three jurisdictions—California, the District of Columbia, and New Mexico—now accept the study of law by correspondence. Several States require registration and approval of students by the State Board of Law Examiners, either before the students enter law school or during their early years of legal study.
Although there is no nationwide bar examination, 48 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands require the 6-hour Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) as part of the overall bar examination; the MBE is not required in Louisiana or Washington. The MBE covers a broad range of issues, and sometimes a locally prepared State bar examination is given in addition to it. The 3-hour Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is used as part of the bar examination in several States. States vary in their use of MBE and MEE scores.
Many States also require Multistate Performance Testing (MPT) to test the practical skills of beginning lawyers. Requirements vary by State, although the test usually is taken at the same time as the bar exam and is a one-time requirement.
The required college and law school education usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Law school applicants must have a bachelor’s degree to qualify for admission. To meet the needs of students who can attend only part time, a number of law schools have night or part-time divisions, which usually require 4 years of study; about 1 in 10 graduates from ABA-approved schools attended part time.
Although there is no recommended “prelaw” major, prospective lawyers should develop proficiency in writing and speaking, reading, researching, analyzing, and thinking logically—skills needed to succeed both in law school and in the profession. Regardless of major, a multidisciplinary background is recommended. Courses in English, foreign languages, public speaking, government, philosophy, history, economics, mathematics, and computer science, among others, are useful. Students interested in a particular aspect of law may find related courses helpful. For example, prospective patent lawyers need a strong background in engineering or science, and future tax lawyers must have extensive knowledge of accounting.
Acceptance by most law schools depends on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate an aptitude for the study of law, usually through good undergraduate grades, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the quality of the applicant’s undergraduate school, any prior work experience, and sometimes, a personal interview. However, law schools vary in the weight they place on each of these and other factors.
All law schools approved by the ABA require applicants to take the LSAT. Nearly all law schools require applicants to have certified transcripts sent to the Law School Data Assembly Service, which then submits the applicants’ LSAT scores and their standardized records of college grades to the law schools of their choice. Both this service and the LSAT are administered by the Law School Admission Council. Competition for admission to many law schools—especially the most prestigious ones—generally is intense, with the number of applicants greatly exceeding the number that can be admitted.
During the first year or year and a half of law school, students usually study core courses, such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, torts, civil procedure, and legal writing. In the remaining time, they may elect specialized courses in fields such as tax, labor, or corporate law. Law students often acquire practical experience by participating in school-sponsored legal clinic activities; in the school’s moot court competitions, in which students conduct appellate arguments; in practice trials under the supervision of experienced lawyers and judges; and through research and writing on legal issues for the school’s law journal.
A number of law schools have clinical programs in which students gain legal experience through practice trials and projects under the supervision of practicing lawyers and law school faculty. Law school clinical programs might include work in legal aid clinics, for example, or on the staff of legislative committees. Part-time or summer clerkships in law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments also provide valuable experience. Such training can lead directly to a job after graduation and can help students decide what kind of practice best suits them. Clerkships also may be an important source of financial aid.
In 2004, law school graduates in 52 jurisdictions were required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which tests their knowledge of the ABA codes on professional responsibility and judicial conduct. In some States, the MPRE may be taken during law school, usually after completing a course on legal ethics.
Law school graduates receive the degree of juris doctor (J.D.) as the first professional degree. Advanced law degrees may be desirable for those planning to specialize, research, or teach. Some law students pursue joint degree programs, which usually require an additional semester or year of study. Joint degree programs are offered in a number of areas, including law and business administration or public administration.
After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal and nonlegal developments that affect their practices. Currently, 40 States and jurisdictions mandate continuing legal education (CLE). Many law schools and State and local bar associations provide continuing education courses that help lawyers stay abreast of recent developments. Some States allow CLE credits to be obtained through participation in seminars on the Internet.
The practice of law involves a great deal of responsibility. Individuals planning careers in law should like to work with people and be able to win the respect and confidence of their clients, associates, and the public. Perseverance, creativity, and reasoning ability also are essential to lawyers, who often analyze complex cases and handle new and unique legal problems.
Most beginning lawyers start in salaried positions. Newly hired salaried attorneys usually start as associates and work with more experienced lawyers or judges. After several years of gaining more responsibilities, some lawyers are admitted to partnership in their firm or go into practice for themselves. Some experienced lawyers are nominated or elected to judgeships. Others become full-time law school faculty or administrators; a growing number of these lawyers have advanced degrees in other fields as well.
Some attorneys use their legal training in administrative or managerial positions in various departments of large corporations. A transfer from a corporation’s legal department to another department often is viewed as a way to gain administrative experience and rise in the ranks of management.
If you or a loved one is considering becoming a lawyer, it is best to visit a law firm and see what the daily tasks include. It may be the perfect job for some, and terribly boring and repetitive for others. It all depends on the type of work you like to do.
Attorneys – Additional Information
If you are seriously considering hiring an attorney, once you locate an attorney you are comfortable with, do an extensive interview process and do not be afraid to ask the tough questions. How long have they been practicing? What is their success rate? What type of experience they have with your type of cases? What are their hourly fees? Some lawyers may even negotiate their prices, while others have a strict policy on never negotiating a price.