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SC Law Library

Attorneys in SC

How to Find a Good Lawyer

Finding an excellent attorney is not always easy. Opening the phone book and reviewing the ads won't give you enough information to make an educated decision.

Personal referrals are a fantastic approach to finding experienced lawyers. Join a support group or talk to people in your community with similar legal problems. Ask about attorneys they have used and how they feel about the outcome. Chances are, you will come away with several good leads once you talk with people with similar medical needs or legal situations.

Experience is key. You'll want to select a firm that has experience in handling cases that are relevant to your particular situation. The criteria for choosing a bankruptcy lawyer and choosing a divorce lawyer are quite different. Likewise, an excellent South Carolina divorce attorney may not be able to help you with your medical malpractice lawsuit.

Is it easy to get an appointment with your lawyer? If it is hard to set an appointment and talk about new business, it may be even more frustrating to keep the lines of communication open once they take your case and time goes by.

Most successful attorneys delegate a lot of responsibility to key staff members. If your lawyer has a legal assistant that handles the bulk of communications and research, does this person seem helpful and well-informed? Are you comfortable that they will be an effective go-between for you and the lawyer while he or she is in court?

Your state bar association can let you know if your South Carolina attorney is in good standing with the state. It's always a smart idea to check with them regarding before making your decision to hire an attorney.

If your court case has to do with a criminal offense, you will most likely have to pay a retainer fee up front. Personal injury lawyers in South Carolina are paid on a contingent basis, which means the lawyer gets a percentage of your settlement. Be sure that all court fees are deducted from the settlement amount before the final payout amount is divided.

If you have injured or made ill due to the negligence or misconduct of a doctor or hospital, you need a lawyer that is experienced in medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a very specialized area of personal injury law and your attorney needs to be well-versed in your underlying condition, injury or illness. You may even want to search for medical malpractice lawyers in South Carolina who are also MD's or have medical experience in their background.

Depending on the type of court case you are involved in, there could be other costs (in addition to attorney's fees) associated with your suit like payments for court reporters, expert witness fees and trial exhibits. Be sure to discuss these costs with your lawyer and make arrangements to set aside funds to cover them.