The American Bar Association guides individuals seeking an attorney to be mindful of their attorney’s specialization or practice area(s). Most states do not require attorneys to be certified in a certain practice area.

However, eighteen states require lawyers to certify as specialists in specific legal practices. These states are Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Initial consultation

Many attorneys will offer a free consultation to discuss your needs and see if clients are a good fit. Before booking an appointment, confirm whether or not there is a fee for this initial conversation. Be prepared to clearly and succinctly describe your legal needs/concerns.

Understand that this initial consultation is an exploratory conversation, and the attorney may not be willing or able to provide legal guidance until you officially become a client. There is information the attorney cannot gather from you or share with you unless you are officially in an attorney-client engagement.

Look for an attorney or firm that is responsive, explains things in terms you understand, and is vetted by the state. It is important that you trust your attorney. Remember, they are going to represent you in a top-dollar transaction. Take the time to choose wisely.

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