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The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column


Q. How do I sort through all the flashy ads and choose the right lawyer?

A. TThe State Bar of Michigan, the official organization which licenses attorneys, makes recommendations in its “Practical Guide to Hiring a Lawyer,” including the following: One, ask people whose judgment you trust for the name of a good lawyer. Two, look for a lawyer who regularly practices in the field of law you need. Three, contact your local bar association’s lawyer referral service. (Genesee County Bar Association, (810) 232-6012, A lawyer with a local office connected to the community, familiar with local courts, is probably a safer bet than a stranger you contact who is willing to meet you out of town or in some parking lot. The Guide also points out that a good lawyer will be honest, cannot and will not guarantee a particular result, and may even tell you things that you do not want to hear. The Guide encourages you to interview the lawyer about his or her experience in handling matters similar to yours. Ask whether the lawyer will handle your case or wants to refer it to others in return for referral fees. Another useful resource is, a directory of attorneys organized by specialties, where attorneys rate each other regarding their legal skills and ethics. Choosing a lawyer is a major decision. You are smart to give the matter some thought.

Atty. Robert J. MacDonald
–October 2008 column