Michelle D. Wallis

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How to pick a good lawyer in Hanford, Fresno, Visalia, Tulare or Porterville—You need a good referral!

Lawyers are like mechanics in some ways.  They both have industry specific, specialized information that the lay-person doesn’t know.  So how do you pick a good lawyer?  The BEST way to pick a lawyer is to get a recommendation from another Attorney or someone who has been to a lawyer/attorney’s office and had a positive experience.  In our field, as Attorneys or Lawyers, we know who is good and who is not so good at giving value to the client for their hard-earned money.  Friends who have been in a similar situation may have good advice, but be careful, because if you need a different type of lawyer from a friend, the referral might not work so well.
What do I mean by a different type of law?  In the legal field, as in the medical field, lawyers specialize in their area of law.  So, in the same way that if you had a heart condition, you would see a cardiologist, or heart doctor, if you have a criminal defense case, you need work with a lawyer specializing in criminal defense.  Typically law is classified into Civil and Criminal Law, and civil is defined simply as the type of law where the punishment or reward  is monetary.  Criminal law is where the punishment is ultimately incarceration or a limitation of freedom.  However, even if your friend’s lawyer was a different type of lawyer than you need, you should call them, because they can almost always refer you to the right type of lawyer or the path to find the right type of lawyer for you.
Like I said, we tend to know which ones of our colleagues we would refer to our own family.  It’s great to get that information up front, because when you go in to see most types of Attorneys, they are going to require you to pay a retainer fee (contingency fee cases are an exception to this, and they are most typically found in civil personal injury law matters, like car accidents), and retainers cost money.  Any lawyer will have to bill you to familiarize themselves with your case, so if you don’t like the way your attorney is handling your case, that means paying double to get a new lawyer sometimes.  A good way to make sure that the lawyer you are about to hire is above board is to check the California bar Association’s website at www.calbar.org.  At this website you can type in your Attorney’s name to see if they have any disciplinary actions or problems.  If they do, that’s not the end of the world, and doesn’t mean you can’t hire them, it may just be something you talk to the lawyer about.  However, if the lawyer’s license is listed as suspended on that website, beware.  Finally, it’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer close to the county you are in.  Hiring a Central Valley lawyer for a Central Valley case is almost always better than hiring an out of town lawyer.  For one, the cost is usually lower, and for another, the Courts are usually familiar with local lawyers, and have a great repoire with them.  This can help you and your case, and is something to really ponder when hiring an Attorney.  Most lawyers are awesome, and are looking to help you while earning their living.  However, as in choosing any professional, you should choose an Attorney for Hanford, Fresno, Tulare County with care, and be careful and pick an attorney that you like, that has good referrals, and who has a good rating from the California State Bar Association.