For example, if you purchased a vehicle that isn’t what the seller promised and that person refuses to let you return the car or help with repairs, you may need an attorney that understands the “Lemon Law.” When you search the internet, you may get a long list of names of national attorneys, but they may not know the local laws and customs in your legal community.
When you call, the attorney may say they can help you with your case but still may not share whether he/she has successfully handled cases like yours, whether he/she is licensed to file a lawsuit should he/she not be able to settle your case, whether he/she will try your case if necessary, or whether he/she has ever tried a case like yours. By hiring a local attorney, you can check into their experience easier and ask friends and family what attorney they recommend.
1. Convenience--This reason may be obvious, but many people seem to think that an attorney from a large firm in a big city is always the best option. Some big firms have satellite offices, but if the attorney’s main office is an hour’s drive from the satellite, they may not be willing to meet you as often as you want.
Without a local office, you may be reluctant to set up meetings with your attorney as often as you want because of the time factor. Having to travel to see your attorney just adds stress to an already stressful time in your life. It is also very handy to be able to get from your attorney’s office to court in a short amount of time.
2. Knowing the Attorney’s Reputation--If you just choose the first attorney that you find during your internet search, the only thing you may know about that person is what you read on their web site. By choosing someone local, you are able to ask around about the attorney and the type of cases they usually handle. When you hire an attorney, you want to be sure that they have experience in the type of case you have – family law, personal injury, fraud, etc.
A local attorney is also more likely to want to maintain a positive reputation in their area. You will be able to ask which attorneys are held in high regard with other members of the court system. They will also be more likely to come prepared because of wanting to uphold their positive reputation. An attorney that isn’t local and may never appear in that court again won’t be as concerned about being prepared and making a good impression with the court.
3. Someone Local will Know how the Court Operates--It may seem that every court operates exactly the same way, but that isn’t necessarily true. While laws may be similar, every state, even every county, has laws that are specific to that area. Every judge has their own way of running their courtroom and may have their own opinions of what type of arguments are the most persuasive.
Someone who isn’t local won’t know all of this about your local court system. They may inadvertently make a mistake that could cost you your case. When your attorney understands how the local system works, they also know to present your case in the best light.
Some rules that change from system to system include whether to stand when talking to the judge and who has to be at a hearing. A local attorney will know what is expected in your court system and will be able to avoid making simple mistakes. A visiting attorney will never be able to know or remember all of the rules of every court, so a local attorney is always the better choice.
When you start your search for a local attorney, ask friends and family for their recommendations. Even if they have never needed an attorney, they may know someone who has used one. Call local attorneys and schedule a time to meet. The best way to choose an attorney is to discuss your needs and see which one seems to really listen to you and has the most expertise regarding your type of case.