No one knows the law like a lawyer. But with so many lawyers practicing in America, how can you make sure you find the right one? No matter what legal issue you're facing—whether it's setting up a new business, creating an estate plan, or taking a negligent company to court—having the guidance of a trained lawyer makes the process go much more smoothly.

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So how do you choose the right lawyer for you? Much as you'd look for a dentist or a mechanic, start by talking to your friends and family. Keep in mind you'll want to find an attorney who specializes in the appropriate practice area. For example, if you're looking to write a will, you'd definitely want to speak with an estate planning lawyer, not intellectual property attorney.

Of course, you might not be able to find the right fit by just talking to the people you trust most. At that point, you have a few different options.

For starters, you can take a look at our network of On Call attorneys. They're all licensed to practice in their states, have malpractice insurance, and, unlike most lawyers, many of our On Call attorneys actually post their rates online, in addition to giving our members discounts. On Call attorneys cover every common practice area and, chances are, there's one near you. You can give us a call if you'd like to get started, and feel free to read our terms and conditions or ask us whatever questions you might have.

If you still can't find the right fit, there are plenty of organizations that help pair lawyers with clients. One of the largest and most trusted is the American Bar Association (ABA). Beyond that, you should check to see if you qualify for free legal aid in your state. There are a wide array of organizations that can help you find the right lawyer—some at no cost up front, and some may even take your entire case for free—if you qualify for free legal aid. These organizations are well-meaning and exist to help everyday people people get the legal representation they need.

You should also keep in mind that your attorney doesn't need to do everything. Commonly, more and more lawyers are offering "unbundled" legal services and, depending on your unique legal issue, unbundling could be right for you.

What's unbundling? It's fairly simple. Basically, you and your attorney will split the work. Most often, that might involve you, the client, doing a bit of paperwork, filling out a government form, or even answering a questionnaire your lawyer provides. This saves your lawyer time and saves you money. Many of our On Call attorneys offer unbundled services and feel comfortable using the documents and forms you can create online. And regardless of whether unbundling is right for your situation, take some time to learn about how lawyers bill for their services.

It might take a little legwork up front, but hiring a lawyer is a big decision. Make sure you find an attorney you trust in the practice area you need. Find out how they'll bill you and don't be afraid to ask questions. When you find the right attorney, make sure to get your agreement in writing. Being involved in choosing your attorney—and understanding your legal issue—will make resolving your legal matter go that much more smoothly.

Get started Ask a Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.

Get started Ask a Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.