Tips on Hiring and Working with Lawyers

So you need a lawyer? Here are some tips that will help you manage the process, from start to finish.

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Lawyers 101 - The Basics

Nolo emphasizes the importance of a healthy attorney-client relationship and encourages clients to participate actively in resolving their legal problems. Here is some of the information that Nolo provides about hiring and working with attorneys.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

When you have a legal problem, you need information. Materials written for nonlawyers, from books to websites, are an excellent place to start. Bar associations and nonprofit public interest groups often publish useful information.

But when you have questions that aren't answered by do-it-yourself materials, you want individual advice tailored to your situation, or your legal matter is particularly complex, it's time to see a lawyer. Lawyers can give strategic advice, research legal issues, and advocate on your behalf.

How Much Help Do You Need?

One way to work with a lawyer is to turn over your entire legal issue and rely on the laywer to handle things. If you've been putting something off (you've been meaning to set up a trust for your grandchildren for years, for example), or your legal problem is especially upsetting (a nasty lawsuit), that's just what you may want to do. Putting a troublesome problem in a trusted expert's hands can be a huge relief.

But maybe you just need some advice or a little coaching, so that you can handle a legal matter (or some of it) on your own. Many lawyers are open to providing limited help -- reviewing documents or researching a particular issue, for example. To find attorneys who do this, just review attorneys' profiles: Nolo asks lawyers to indicate whether they're willing to coach clients or review client-prepared documents.

Start here to learn about finding the right lawyer, managing the cost, and handling issues that may come up.

To start your lawyer search, check out Nolo's lawyer directory. You'll find local lawyers organized by area of expertise, and rich profiles that will help you find an attorney that's right for you.

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