How do you Choose the Right Lawyer?


Katy Young

The answer to that question can determine whether you get proper representation or not. Most people have no understanding of how to choose a lawyer to represent them. Common ways to find an attorney are to ask friends or family for recommendations, use a lawyer referral service, or good old Google. Asking for a referral to an attorney can certainly help get you on the right track, but what do you do if you don’t know anyone who knows anyone? Lawyer referral services through local bar associations can be clunky to deal with, so most people search the internet. But what if the internet doesn’t know the answer?

Yes, believe it or not, sometimes the internet does not have the answer. That is especially true when you are experiencing a dispute. If you are having a business dispute, you might Google “business law” and your geographic area. If a real estate dispute, you might Google “real estate lawyer” plus your city. By the same token, many people experiencing employment disputes Google for “employment law” or “employment lawyer.” While these all seem like reasonable search terms, the problem is that Google doesn’t know the difference between a lawyer who handles disputes and a lawyer who does not. To get a more accurate result, you would have to search “business litigation” or “real estate litigator” to get to the kind of lawyer that handles disputes. The other kind of lawyer is a transactional lawyer, one who does not go into a courtroom, but Google results assume that’s what you mean when you search “business law.” Most people are not familiar with the differences between litigators and transactional attorneys. Google barely does and yields some imperfect results.

So the first step in choosing the right lawyer is determining what type of lawyer you need. Do you need a lawyer who handles disputes and goes to court (a litigator) or one who handles non-dispute work such as transactions, contract drafting, and regulatory advising (a transactional attorney)? Once you know, then you can refine your Google search. You will be able to search “business litigation attorney san Francisco” for example, and get to us. If you just search “business law San Francisco” you get a swath of results that include the kind of lawyer you don’t need. As a firm, we do not expend any resources on Google adwords because Google is so bad at this distinction. Any time we dedicated resources to search engine optimization to make it easier for clients to find us, we get inundated with phone calls from people who want us to draft a contract or advise them on regulations, which is not what we do. Ad Astra is solely dedicated to dispute work, we are ONLY litigators. We appreciate the ability to refer out that potential transactional business to our friends, thereby helping the potential client get to a lawyer that will be a better fit for them, but we stay in our lane…and we’re damn good at it, too.

Now that you know more than Google about the difference between types of lawyers, we hope you will find the right one for you. If it’s a fighter you need, give us a call. Otherwise, we’ll refer you to a friend.

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