How Do You Do A Lawyer Background Check?
From defense lawyers to immigration lawyers, there are attorneys for every kind of special need. However, whether or not a lawyer is right for you is another question. It's an important one, too, as your lawyer can mean the difference between inheriting an estate or going penniless, staying out of prison or receiving a life sentence.
As such, it makes sense to do a lawyer background check before hiring one.
How to Run Your Own Attorney Background Check
An attorney background check is no different than the background check an employer might run before hiring an employee. To start, check your lawyer's records filed at both the county and state level in case he or she offers services throughout the state. If you know your lawyer practiced in other states (or aren't sure), run a national criminal check, too.
There might be some additional checks you want to run. First, consider putting your attorney's name into a sex offender search tool or checking the national sex offender registry list. Next, check for any pending malpractices or investigations by running a quick Google search of your lawyer's name and various states s/he might have worked in. This would be a good way to catch any media headlines that involve your lawyer and suspect behavior.
Lastly, head to your state's Bar Association website. Here you'll find a directory of that state's lawyers, and it will say whether or not your chosen lawyer is in good standing. You should also be able to search for any disciplinary action taken against that lawyer on this site as well. If you have trouble finding this information, head to the American Bar Associations' referral site for a deeper look or go to a site like lawyers.com that provides reviews of attorneys.
What You Should Do If You Find Something Negative When Doing Your Lawyer Background Check
The lawyer that you choose to employ will be your representative, and you should feel comfortable with the person you choose. That said, it can be difficult to know for sure what the information you find in your lawyer background check really means in terms of your lawyer's competence and ethics. If you find something negative, start by reaching out to the lawyer to ask for an explanation, and do additional research to ensure you understand exactly what you've found.
Also take into consideration the lawyer's track record, as well as how well you feel they "get" you and your interests. You may want to continue working with them if they've been successful in your area beforehand, as long as any disciplinary action taken against them doesn't relate to something within your interests. That said, if there are multiple marks against them, you may want to reconsider.
So, How Do You Run a Laywer Background Check?
To do a lawyer background check, run a county, state, and/or national background check. Then check sex offender registries, your state's Bar Association, and a lawyer review website. Taking these extra steps will ensure you not only find a lawyer you like, but one that also has a proven track record of providing safe and reliable services.
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