Online Attorney Directories – How to Evaluate a Legal Directory on the Internet

There are a number of websites that purport to have lawyers waiting to help. The reality is most of these websites are only attorney directories created by marketing teams who have no understanding of the law or, in many cases, who have no connection to a real lawyer or law firm.

These online attorney directories often end up in the top of the search engine results. The marketing teams help ensure this happens. This leaves you, the consumer who is looking for an attorney, with the obstacle of having to evaluate the online attorney directory. Here are some tips for evaluating online lawyer directories as you search for the right lawyer.

  • Determine whether the directory is a paid directory.
  • Paid directories are those that require lawyers to pay a fee to be listed in the directory. Paid directories usually have the most accurate contact and practice area information. Attorneys who pay to be included in the directory have an interest in making sure their information is correct.

    The downside to these directories is they may have very few attorney listings. This raises the question as to what types of attorneys pay to be listed on an online legal directory. Many successful attorneys do not have to incur this expense in order to carry out their trade. Other very good attorneys do incur this expense, but most of them do not do it regularly. For example, attorneys who are just starting out, are changing practice areas, or are relocating to another state may initially use these directories as they establish their new law practices. Is this the type of lawyer you want to hire? If so, the paid legal directory may be just what you are looking for.

  • Scrutinize free attorney directories.
  • Not all free online lawyer directories are bad. There are some very good ones. The best online legal directories usually have some direct involvement by attorneys themselves. For example, many free online attorney directories have forums where lawyers answer free legal questions. This allows the attorneys to get the word out about their practice and their expertise, while helping point folks in the right direction.

    Some other free online attorney directories focus on compiling contact information for lawyers. Most of these directories compile the information without any direction or input from the lawyers who are listed in the directory. These directories stand out as they usually just provide a listing of attorneys. These directories often scrape the information off of legitimate websites with the sole aim of generating advertising dollars for themselves.

    A recent trend is for these websites to have an attorney profile page that can be “claimed” by the attorney. The purpose here is to bring visitors to the directory using the search engines thereby generating advertising revenues for the directory. The directory may also hope the lawyer will notice the profile and “claim” it by entering their information. Very few attorneys actually claim profiles in this manner. Indeed, many of them have to contact legal directories and ask to have their names removed from the directory. Thus, you should avoid any attorney directory that indicates attorneys should “claim” their profile.

  • Avoid attorney rating sites.
  • Attorneys help clients with a multitude of legal issues and the facts of each case are different. The work of attorneys cannot be boiled down to a number or other rating. These rating systems often try to gauge an attorney by the number of years the attorney has been in practice. Older is not always better. Statistics show that most complaints filed with state bar associations are filed against attorneys who have practiced a number of years. These complaints relate to failing to provide quality client service to failing to keep abreast of the law. While it is somewhat rare to see the same complaints filed against younger attorneys, this has no bearing on how the attorney is likely to handle your particular legal matter. You should avoid attorney directories that rate attorneys in this manner.

  • Avoid the attorney directory that includes prices.
  • Attorneys are highly regulated. The attorney professionalism rules for every state say that attorneys must charge reasonable fees. What is reasonable for a particular matter is dependent upon a great number of factors. Unless you have provided all of this information to the attorney directory, it should not quote prices. This seems like common sense, but it needs to be said. Avoid attorney directories that include pricing information.

    These steps should help you screen the online attorney directories you find in the search engine results.

    How to Find a Reasonably Priced Bankruptcy Attorney?

    If you are facing bankruptcy you are probably experiencing severe financial problems. The last thing you want is to incur more expenses. You may be thinking that you would not even need a bankruptcy attorney if you could afford to have one in the first place. However, one of the expenses you should never cut back on is a good bankruptcy attorney. The field of bankruptcy is a complicated one with many minefields. You cannot go without the expertise or skill of a good bankruptcy attorney during this process. There are far too many opportunities to get something wrong and destroy your entire case. You will be much better off if you hire a bankruptcy attorney. What is complicated for the every day man and woman on the street is a daily activity for bankruptcy attorneys.

    How Much Does a Bankruptcy Attorney Cost?
    There is no fixed fee for a bankruptcy attorney so it is impossible to predict exactly how much you will have to pay your attorney. There are many things that determine the fees (continue reading to learn more about them). But, it is possible to make a general estimation of how much you should expect to pay. Note that the fee that you pay is for his or her service and assistance. It is not the total mount that you will have to pay for the entire process. For example, when you file for bankruptcy you will have to pay a filing fee. For now, you can pay something from $800.00 to $2,000.00 in case your case is a normal one.

    What Determines Bankruptcy Attorney Fees?

    – Location:
    The area in which you find a bankruptcy attorney will greatly determine the fees that you have to pay for his or her services. For example, if you hire an attorney in the Upper East Side of Manhattan you will have to pay more attorney fees than someone who hires an attorney in Brooklyn which is a cheaper area of New York City. If you live in an expensive area you can save on the fees by hiring an attorney from a different location. Just make sure that the attorney you hire has experience in the court in which you are filing as procedures sometimes differ from court to court.

    – If you want to save money on bankruptcy attorney fees you should talk directly to the attorney that you are interested in hiring. Firstly, only the attorney will be able to tell you exactly how much you will have to pay for their services. Also, many attorneys are willing to negotiate their fees. If you are in a very bad situation you can use this to show the attorney your financial limitations and have them bring down their fees for you. Note that if your case is a very complex one it will be harder to renegotiate attorney fees as your case will not be run of the mill and will require more time and expertise on the part of the attorney. They too have financial responsibilities.

    – If you really do not want to pay a large amount of bankruptcy attorney fees you should consider hiring an attorney who has just completed his training. Their fees will be significantly lower than an attorney who has had many years of expertise handling different kinds of bankruptcies. However, only hire an inexperienced attorney if your case is fairly standard and will not be a challenge for them. If your case is a complex one, you cannot take the risk of hiring someone inexperienced who could mess things up for you.

    Defending Against Abuse of a Power of Attorney

    Attorneys will advise you that you should have a power of attorney. A Power of Attorney is an important document that allows someone else to handle your affairs if you have difficulty or are unable to do so. With age and illness, a Power of Attorney often becomes necessary. Usually the person who is given the authority to act will do so with the best of intentions. What happens, however, if the person you trust misuses the Power of Attorney for personal gain or benefit? A Power of Attorney may seem like a simple document, but it can have far-reaching and unintended consequences. A Power of Attorney can be very tempting to the person who has it.

    A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which a person (the “Principal”) gives someone else (the “Agent” or “Attorney-in-fact”) the authority to act on the Principal’s behalf. If the Principal becomes ill, incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle her financial affairs, or simply chooses to let someone else do it for her, the person or persons she designated in the Power of Attorney can pay bills, deal with banks, lawyers and other professionals, and do other things that are in the best interest of the Principal.

    A Power of Attorney can be general, meaning that it gives the Attorney-in-fact the authority to do whatever the Principal might do for herself, or limited, meaning that it is limited in scope and/or time. For example, a Power of Attorney may be limited to one specified act or type of act, such as a limited Power of Attorney to attend a real estate closing and sign the closing documents on behalf of a buyer or seller, or it may be limited in time, such as a Power of Attorney that is effective only during the time that someone is out of the country on a trip. A Power of Attorney also may be durable, meaning that it takes effect upon its execution (or a specified date) and continues in effect even if the Principal becomes incapacitated, or springing, meaning that it only takes effect after the Principal is incapacitated (or some other definite future act or circumstance). The problem with a springing Power of Attorney is that it requires a judicial determination of incapacity for the power to take effect. This can take a considerable amount of time – plus the initiation of legal proceedings, the hiring by the Court of an independent person to interview and investigate the circumstances of the alleged incompetent, and a hearing in Court – often exactly at a most trying time when there is a need for prompt or immediate action.

    In New Jersey, a Power of Attorney can include provisions with respect to making health care decisions, including the power to consent to any medical care, treatment, service or procedure. A health care power of attorney is different than a “Living Will”, which is a written statement of a person’s health care and medical wishes, but does not appoint another person to make health care decisions.

    A Power of Attorney is a useful and powerful tool. Unfortunately, as with many things, something with a good purpose still can be used for improper purposes. A general Power of Attorney allows the Agent or Attorney-in-fact to do almost anything the Principal could or might do herself. As a result, it can be an invitation to abuse and self-dealing.

    The victim of Power of Attorney abuse often may not be aware of what is happening, or even if she is may feel powerless to say or do anything because she is dependent on the abuser for care and companionship. The nature and extent of the abuse may not come to light until after the person has died and someone else is able to obtain access to her banking and other financial records.

    Disputes can arise when the Agent or Attorney-in-fact has used the Power of Attorney to transfer the Principal’s assets to himself or his family members. This may be done as an estate planning technique, such as making gifts to take advantage of the annual exclusion from gift taxes. On the other hand, it may be done to deprive other family members of a share of the Principal’s assets that they otherwise might eventually inherit. For example, a person may wrongfully use a Power of Attorney to withdraw money from the Principal’s bank accounts and deposit the money in his or own bank account. We have seen this and been involved in litigation to get the money back.

    Under New Jersey law, the traditional rule was that a power of attorney should not be construed to allow the Agent or Attorney-in-fact to give the Principal’s assets to himself or others without clear language in the power authorizing such gifts. See Manna v. Pirozzi, 44 N.J. Super. 227 (App. Div. 1957). In 2004 in New Jersey a law was passed stating that a Power of Attorney shall not be construed to authorize the Attorney-in-fact to gratuitously transfer property of the Principal to the Attorney-in-fact or any one else except to the extent that the Power of Attorney expressly and specifically so authorizes. N.J.S.A 46:2B-8.13a. If this happens, the Superior Court, upon application of any heir or other next friend of the Principal, may require the Attorney-in-fact to render an accounting (i.e. an explanation of when and for what the money was used) if there is doubt or concern whether the Attorney-in-fact has acted within the powers delegated by the Power of Attorney for the benefit of the Principal. N.J.S.A. 46:2B-8.13(b).

    A Power of Attorney also may be attacked as having been procured by undue influence, or when the Principal already was incompetent and therefore legally unable to execute a Power of Attorney. This type of action is similar to a will contest in which a will is claimed to have been procured by undue influence, or in which it is claimed that the testator was of unsound mind and unable legally to make a will.

    Accident, Injury & Settlement Tips – I Want To Fire My Attorney!

    A previous article in this series explored what your attorney should be doing for you in a personal injury (PI) case. This article addresses how to deal with an attorney who’s not doing what he’s supposed to do.

    It’s always amazed me how some PI attorneys sit on a case. Think about it. PI attorneys are usually paid on a contingent fee – meaning, they get a percentage of whatever they can get for you. Why then would your attorney let your case sit idle? To be sure, the attorney’s overhead expenses aren’t sitting idle.

    The answer falls neatly into two categories – either your attorney is too busy, or he’s too lazy. While the former is certainly better than the latter, neither is good for you.

    Here’s the steps you should take if you suspect your attorney is too busy or too lazy:

    1. Speak to or meet with a top PI attorney in your area to find out what a real attorney would be doing on your case.

    These consultations are almost always free.

    How do you find the top attorney in your area? Not on TV and not in the Yellow Pages. If you like, you may call me or email me and I’d be glad to help you. The best way to email me is to get your claim value by filling out the 10 questions in the Claim Calculator link below. That will give me both your email address and specific information about your case (amount of property damage, medical bills, wage loss, etc.) I’m able to find, through trial lawyer association list-serves and other means, the top attorneys in every area of the United States. I communicate directly with the attorney about your case particulars, and if he’s willing to meet with you, I connect you with the attorney so you can schedule a time to meet or speak about your case.

    How do you know an attorney is one of the best in your area? Simple – he posts his million dollar results right on his website. Attorneys that I help people find are the best – their results speak for themselves. An attorney that doesn’t post their results on their website is not proud of their results. You can rest assured an attorney that has repeatedly recovered over a million dollars for individual clients knows how to successfully handle your file. Successful attorneys also have reputations that insurance companies are aware of. That reputation can make a big difference when the insurance company is deciding whether to settle for a reasonable amount or jerk around your lazy attorney until he persuades you to take a low-ball settlement.

    2. Fire him or make him quit?

    What happens if you hire him? It varies state by state, so check with the new attorney you meet with. Typically, attorneys are entitled to be compensated for the work they’ve done on the case up till the time you fire him. Usually, this is determined by the number of hours he worked multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate (based on his experience). He must release the file to you (it belongs to you). He may keep a copy of the file, but usually the ethical rules require the copying be done at his expense. The attorney can place a “lien” for the time he spent on your case – which is only paid if and when you get a recovery with your new attorney.

    Important: If your new attorney really wants your case (and you ask for it), the new attorney will often pay the old attorney lien out of the new attorney’s 1/3 fee. In other words, switching attorneys won’t cost you anything extra. In fact, for the same 1/3 attorney fee you were always going to pay, you now have a much better attorney who will get you even more compensation for your injuries.

    What happens if he quits? If your attorney quits, he can’t claim an attorney lien for the work he has done. If your attorney quits, you don’t have to worry whether your new attorney will agree to absorb the attorney lien within his contingent fee. And the new attorney doesn’t have to worry about fighting the old attorney on an unreasonable attorney lien.

    A lazy attorney will usually grow tired of a client who persistently calls the attorney demanding proof the case is moving forward. Frequent calls to the attorney usually do the trick, although it never hurts to “pop by” the attorney’s office and ask to meet with the attorney, or if he’s not available, his paralegal. If no one’s available by phone or in person, insist on a day / time to meet in person. Tell them you’d like to review the entire file. When you do meet (or speak by phone), find out when the attorney intends to file suit. Filing suit forces the insurance company to hire an attorney (i.e. pay money). It also triggers deadlines the insurance company must meet. Without deadlines, the insurance company is happy to keep your money in the stock market – which is really how insurance companies have historically built wealth. That’s why insurance adjusters are trained to delay the claim as long as possible. By repeatedly demanding that your attorney file suit, or withdraw from the case so you can hire an attorney that will, you may be able to get rid of that lazy attorney.

    Feel free to contact me (through the free Claim Calculator below) if you have any questions.

    Effective Tips For Choosing A Right Bankruptcy Attorney

    Nowadays we hear lots of people losing their jobs as unemployment is increasing a lot. We can never say that we will not face the situation as the unexpected happens. We should be ready with the solutions for the life’s most unexpected and complex financial problems.

    In case if you are unable to come out of your financial problems, then you can consider bankruptcy filing. But, you should be aware of how to choose an attorney. Choosing an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will make a big difference to your financial situation. Consult the attorney before making a decision as it will impact your financial situation. Search the internet and come to a decision by reviewing all the recommended lists of your state’s bankruptcy lawyers.

    Bankruptcy laws exist to give a solution to the person who is overburdened with debt and want to start freshly. These laws change frequently, in order to get most out of these constantly changing laws, a debtor needs a smart and experienced lawyer who deals entirely with bankruptcy. If you are in financial hardship and have a need of attorney, below are few things to take into account while choosing.

    Gather a list of bankruptcy attorneys: Call the local bar association, talk with your friends and neighbors who have already taken the help of bankruptcy attorneys for reference, browse the internet to find attorneys in your area. After collecting a list of bankruptcy attorneys, depending on what type of attorney you need – consumer, commercial, business or personal, choose the best bankruptcy attorney. Call the attorneys personally and talk to them, this will help you to narrow down your choices and helps you in choosing the best attorney.

    Consult the attorneys personally: Bankruptcy attorneys provide free consultation for first time, if the attorney charges the fee move on to the next attorney in the list, speak with attorney personally and find out how much experience he has and number of cases they have handled successfully. The bankruptcy attorneys should be able to provide detailed information about the bankruptcy from the scratch. If they don’t provide the information confidently for the questions you ask and look unclear, move on to the next attorney.

    Find out the amount you have to pay: Ask the attorney about the amount you have to pay fully from beginning to end. Depending on where you live and the type of debt you are in, the bankruptcy attorney will charge you $1,000 to $3,500. While choosing the bankruptcy attorney don’t always choose the cheapest one. Find out which attorney is more qualified and who has good experience. Some bankruptcy attorneys will ask you to pay the fee fully in advance before filing the case. Talk to the attorneys in advance and come to a conclusion.

    Options with the attorneys: Discuss all your options with the attorneys, make sure that the attorney you choose is ready to work for you, there are several attorneys who file your case without having interest to take up the case for quick fee. You can find out easily whether the attorney you chose is really interested to take up the case by interviewing the attorney.

    Ratings and reviews: Check out the ratings and reviews about the attorney from your friends and internet.

    Surely all the above steps will help you to find out good bankruptcy attorney; as a result you will hopefully get out of your debts.