If you are contemplating legal action, your first big decision is likely which lawyer is right for you. How do you find a good lawyer? Lawyer near me has some nice tips on this.

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Talk to friends and family. Chances are good that someone you know has used a lawyer or knows someone who has. Ask friends and family who they used and about their experience. Were they satisfied with the service they were provided? Ask for specifics about why they did – or did not- feel their lawyer provided good service. Find out if the lawyer returned telephone calls or emails in a timely manner, whether the case was pursued and completed in a reasonable time, whether the lawyer listened to requests and concerns, whether the person was kept informed about the status of his or her case, whether fees charged were fair and bills detailed enough to know what legal work was completed on the case.

Referral Services. There are a number of referral services in Texas. The State Bar of Texas provides a list of referral services around the state. Referral services require lawyers to register and generally require lawyer members to carry malpractice insurance. In the Austin and central Texas area, contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas. Referral services often also set a limit on the fee charged for an initial consultation. The Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas requires its member lawyers to provide a 30 minute consultation for $20.

Courthouse. Go watch lawyers in action. In family law matters, divorce, child visitation, child support, etc., you can find hearings going on at the Travis County Civil Courthouse on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Except in rare circumstances, court proceedings are open to the public. Locate a hearing to watch by asking at the information desk or check the directory of courtrooms and investigate until you find a hearing to watch. You may enter and leave a courtroom while proceedings are ongoing, but remember to be respectful and quiet. Turn off cell phones and pagers and do not bring food or drinks into the courtroom. It also advisable to not bring your children. Some of the issues in these cases may not be appropriate for children, who likely should be in school in any event, and children may have a difficult time sitting still and quiet during proceedings.

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Once you find a hearing to watch, what do you look for? Real life legal proceedings are almost never as exciting and suspenseful as they are tv, but you will be able to gather important information about a lawyer by watching him or her in court. Is the lawyer conducting him or herself in a professional manner? Remember that your lawyer will be an extension of you – representing you and your interests. I submit that a professional, courteous and zealous advocate is more effective than one who is rude and unprofessional. Is the lawyer prepared? Every lawyer has a different way to conduct hearings, but notice whether he or she appears to have documents organized, asks good questions and seems to have a plan. Observe the lawyer’s style to see if it persuasive to you and compatible with your personality and desires. Watch long enough to get a sense about the lawyers and move to another hearing. If you find a lawyer you would like to speak with, ask for his or her contact information during a break or write down the name and call later.

Interview potential lawyers. Many lawyers offer an initial consultation free or for a small fee. You may only have 30 minutes for an initial consultation so prepare before you go. If there are any orders in place, bring those with you to the consultation. Be prepared to open the consultation with a concise description of your situation and outcome you seek. Make a list of questions and concerns so you don’t forget to raise them during the meeting.