Which attorney should I hire?

Suited man holding books and gavel.

Getting the Legal Help You Need

Most people think that attorneys are needed when you’re arrested, going through a divorce, or they are on one side or the other of a lawsuit. While those are probably the most common of all reasons, there are several other reasons you may need an attorney. There are attorneys that focus on one area of law, like a criminal law attorney or a corporate attorney. So when you do need one, finding one that specializes in your area of need is recommended.  

Attorneys vs Lawyers

First, let’s determine what the difference is between an attorney vs lawyer. Is an attorney and a lawyer the same thing? For universal purposes, in America, an attorney and a lawyer are the same thing. From a professional viewpoint though, there are differences, albeit subtle differences. A lawyer and an attorney must obtain the same education requirements and may be required to obtain their post-graduate degree of J.D. (Juris Doctorate). 

A lawyer and an attorney are admitted to the bar association and may represent clients as they practice law. A lawyer is a person that provides legal advice and can provide representation for legal matters. An attorney has graduated law school, received their J.D. and can represent a client in legal matters.

Well, that all sounds the same doesn’t it? An attorney will always be a lawyer, but a lawyer isn’t always going to be an attorney. Here are three factors that determine this difference:

  • A lawyer graduates law school.
  • An attorney who graduates law school will pass the bar and will practice law in the courtroom.
  • While a lawyer can give legal advice, they do not practice in a court of law. 

How do you talk to a lawyer?

An attorney or lawyer isn’t somebody we’re all just clamoring to talk to, but chances are at some point in your life, you’ll need to speak with one. While an attorney or lawyer will be well-versed (or should be), with navigating the legal system, the following tips will help you get the most from that legal service.

1. Be organized. Create a comprehensive story about the situation you’re having, making it as clear as possible. This should include all the details about the event or incident in a chronological order from start to finish. Creating a folder with all the relevant documents is a good idea, putting them in chronological order. If there are witnesses to your situation, provide names and phone numbers.

2. Details. Sometimes the story is in the minute details, like the weather. Any variable around or in your situation shouldn’t be omitted. At this point, your responsibility is to be the ears and eyes for your attorney or lawyer. 

3. Honest. Tell it like it was, plain and simple, lying is not something you want to do with your attorney or lawyer. They are on your side; you need to confide in them with open honesty. Don’t lie. Just like doctors have patient confidentiality, so do attorneys and lawyers with their clients. Be prepared and ready to explain everything to your attorney or lawyer, all the good, all the bad, and things you think may not be relevant. 

4. Clarification.  If the legal jargon and terms confuse you, you’re not the only one, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. The law can be confusing and that makes it intimidating, so if you don’t understand, ask questions. The only dumb question is one that you don’t ask! 

5. Keep Information Flowing. Things can change in legal matters and if anything changes on your end, letting your attorney or lawyer now ASAP is important. No matter how small the change, they need to be apprised. 

Which attorney do I need?

The legal field is massive. The legal field is complex. If you need an attorney, you want to make sure you hire an attorney that is specialized in that area. Here are the most commonly used attorneys and lawyers: 

  • Personal Injury 

You want a personal injury attorney when you have been injured in an accident. They will know the process and how to navigate it to get you the best compensation possible. 

  • Estate Planning 

This attorney is the one you need for drawing up wills and trusts so that your assets are distributed as you want and to make sure your loved ones are financially taken care of. 

  • Bankruptcy 

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy due to financial difficulties, a bankruptcy attorney can provide you with the information you need to know about the process and repercussions. They can determine your eligibility and which bankruptcy type is best for your situation. 

  • Intellectual Property 

An intellectual property attorney will advise you on the issues related to intellectual property in regard to copyrights, industrial design, patent, trade secrets, and trademarks.

  • Employment 

From the company side or the employee side, when there are legal matters within the workplace, this is the attorney you need. 

  • Corporate 

Any person that owns a corporation will find a corporate attorney is necessary at many different times. This is true from forming the corporation and general corporate governance issues to corporate compliance issues.

  • Immigration

The immigration laws are changing almost daily and there is no better way to navigate this area than to hire an immigration attorney, whether it is for asylum, citizenship, green card, refugee, or other matters. 

Other specialties in law are criminal attorneys, medical malpractice, tax attorney, and family attorney. Worker’s compensation and contract attorneys, civil litigation, and social security disability, and last but not least, General Practice attorneys. This is often the first attorney most people will reach out to if they aren’t sure what type of attorney they need. A good GP attorney will refer you to a specialized attorney if they feel you will be better served. 

How do I find a pro bono lawyer?

A Pro Bono attorney or lawyer is one that will take on a case at no cost to the client or any organization. There is a difference between a Pro Bono attorney and one that works for a legal aid organization. 

The attorneys that work with legal aid organizations are paid by funds from organizations like justice foundations. A Pro Bono attorney or lawyer is not paid anything by anyone. 

To find a Pro Bono attorney, contacting a program that specializes in this area is the best way. There are non-profit organizations, local bar associations, and others that encourage attorneys to donate their time as a way of giving back to their community. The medical profession has the same type of programs for doctors. 

Law scales on a wooden table.

Ready To Get Started? 

If you’re needing an attorney and you’re wondering, “How do I find an attorney in my area?”, the internet is a great tool. Simply enter “Lawyers near me” and the algorithms will give you pages of suggestions. You want to choose one that is specialized in the area of the law you’re needing. The team at Al Estes Bail Bonds can also help you learn more about getting an attorney in St. Petersburg, FL when you call 727-571-9999.