Author Topic: how to look for a lawyer - where to start  (Read 4659 times)

BZB

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how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« on: November 23, 2014, 05:47:35 AM »
Hi Mustachians,
I am not seeking legal advice, just advice on how to find a lawyer.

What is a good web resource for finding a lawyer for a specific task? Specifically, I need a lawyer who practices in Austin, TX, who can help me get a muniment of title. This is for an alternative to probating a will, to distribute a simple estate. I live in Houston, TX.

My online searches have resulted in skeevy looking websites. I am very nervous about getting scammed.

Also, how can I check that the lawyer is good at this task? (For example, my parents had a will that was poorly written by a lawyer. The lawyer was a family friend, and not an expert in estate law. They later had their will remade by an estate lawyer.) Is the Texas Bar Association the best place to look?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Tstan

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 08:58:01 AM »
Try www.martindale.com. You can search for attorneys who do wills/trusts/estates in either Austin or Houston.  The great attorneys will have peer ratings of 5.0/AV. You can also find junior partners or young attorneys who are less expensive but still have great ratings. Most profiles link to firm websites.

I think avvo.com is generally less reliable.

Sorry about your loss.  Best of luck.

totoro

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 09:04:57 AM »
You don't need a top-rated Martindale lawyer for this.  You need a flat fee quote for a relatively simple task.  Start calling around and asking for quotes from those who advertise a practice in this area based on a google search.  I note that virtual law firms are becoming more prevalent in the US.

http://www.perezlawonline.com/  (no knowledge of them prior - I just googled virtual law texas)


Field123

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 09:12:21 AM »
Generally speaking, you don't want a lawyer who advertises or self-promotes. Martingale and online databases like that are for crap as well.

The best resource is your local bar association. Here's the link for Austin:

http://www.austinbar.org

Call these guys, explain what you're looking for and they will give you a list of well qualified, high reputation attorneys.

Good luck!

Spork

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 09:31:11 AM »
Generally speaking, you don't want a lawyer who advertises or self-promotes. Martingale and online databases like that are for crap as well.

The best resource is your local bar association. Here's the link for Austin:

http://www.austinbar.org

Call these guys, explain what you're looking for and they will give you a list of well qualified, high reputation attorneys.

Good luck!

+1

This goes for a lot more than lawyers: doctors, accountants and a whole slew of other professionals fall into this category.  The good ones usually have more work than they can handle.

The devil's advocate in me also has to mention: I went through a trusted acquaintance that was a lawyer to get a recommendation ... and the resulting lawyer billed me $300 and never delivered (despite repeated phone calls and letters).  You can find a bad one anywhere.

totoro

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 09:41:18 AM »
This is why you want a fixed fee quote in writing for this relatively simple task.  I'm a lawyer and that is what I would do if I wasn't a lawyer. 

Recommendations from the local bar might be helpful for more complex matters, but this is not one of them. 

Google law firms and find some that practice in this area.  Get a fixed price quote.

2ndTimer

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 10:17:10 AM »
When I needed a lawyer, I asked my CPA who I respect a lot to recommend one.  When it turned out I needed a lawyer in a different state, I asked lawyer #1 to recommend one in that state.  It worked out well for me.

paddedhat

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2014, 10:41:43 AM »
I would go about this completely differently. I would contact a few companies that do title work for residential real estate. Ask what R.E lawyers in the area they like? Who is fair and competent? Believe me, when you close R.E deals for a living,  and you have been at it a while, you know who the local clowns, thieves and shining stars are.

As for the local bar association, sorry but I would pass on that. The trade is well know as a good ole' boy's club and their clubhouse is often the association. You may get a great recommendation, you may get a washed up clown who is smart enough to lick the right boots to get much needed referrals.  Which is exactly what would happen if you called my county ABA office.

The old saying when my wife taught public school was "never piss off the school secretary". They have far more power than you imagine, and they know everything about everybody. Title clerks are no different, as a homebuilder, they have saved my ass on several occasions.

BZB

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2014, 08:03:44 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for the advice. Dang, this kind of thing should not be so difficult! The estate that needs to be settled has no physical property, just several bank accounts, and not much money in them.

kkbmustang

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Re: how to look for a lawyer - where to start
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 04:07:14 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for the advice. Dang, this kind of thing should not be so difficult! The estate that needs to be settled has no physical property, just several bank accounts, and not much money in them.

BZB -

PM me if you'd like for me to reach out to my network for a referral. I'm an attorney in Dallas, but my network may be able to suggest someone in Austin.