If they had a good experience with a lawyer in the same field for which you need legal help, their recommendations should be considered. You can learn a great deal about a lawyer this way.
Avvo is a great resource to learn about lawyers, and the ratings and attorney information are helpful.
Call the lawyer
You may not always get a lawyer right away as good lawyers may be in court or with clients, but if you get a secretary, see if she is helpful (and if the lawyer later calls you back if you request). It is not unusual to get a voice mail. Don't pick anyone who doesn't call you back the same day or the next business day.
Ask about fees
Don't pick a lawyer solely based on cost. Experience and ability matter a great deal. But cost is important, and some shopping based on cost amongst otherwise good lawyers is prudent.
Check with the local bar association
Some local bar associations have low-cost referral services which can assist you.
Additional resources provided by the author
The phone book and newspaper ads are also a good resource for getting information about lawyers in common fields like personal injury, divorce, wills and bankruptcy. But don't overlook the other steps in this guide.