Personal referrals can be a great way to find a lawyer. By asking friends and family members for referrals, you are getting a recommendation from trusted people who know you, will know what you are looking for in a lawyer, and have personalities you "click" with. However, don't let referrals from friends and family be the end all be all in finding your lawyer. Your parents' nice estate planning attorney may not have the skills necessary for your discrimination lawsuit and your best friend's business attorney may not be the best choice for your divorce.
The World Wide Web
The Internet is becoming the way we find information. If Avvo has come to your state, you can find listings, ratings, and reviews on local attorneys. It takes mere seconds to go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN) and find attorneys in your area. You'll find attorneys' websites as well as local listing information. Just keep in mind that lawyers and technology don't always go hand in hand. Some excellent lawyers might not have websites, or might not rank high in the search rankings.
The Good Old Yellow Pages
Before the Internet, people used the phone book to find information. Just open up that great big book and look under "Attorneys." However, as the Internet gains in popularity, the phone book fades away, and because fewer clients are turning to the phone book to find attorneys, fewer attorneys are spending their advertising money on a Yellow Pages ad.
Referrals from Organizations
Another place to find a lawyer is through referrals from different organizations. Contact your local chamber of commerce or bar association. Check with different social service organizations. Look at organizations related to the area of law you are dealing with. When using an organization for a referral, ask about the criteria they use. How do attorneys get on the referral list? Does the organization do any type of screening, or do they just keep a list of lawyers?