I have written several posts on how to choose the best lawyer in the world. Since that time, lawyers have been posting information about themselves faster than they ever have before. The quest can at times seem overwhelming. To make the search easier, I recommend dividing it into two parts: 1) obtain recommendations; and 2) interview those lawyers to determine the best fit with your needs.
Obtaining recommendations allows you to identify the lawyers with the expertise you need. Any lawyer can pay for a yellow page add or throw up a website. It is a much smaller group which can generate a consensus regarding making clients happy. Be aware that all recommendations are not created equal. If you are looking for a patent attorney, ask your current attorney for a recommendation. By recommending another attorney, your attorney is attaching his or her reputation to the quality of their recommendation. Given that your continued business relationship may be on the line, you should afford such recommendations greater weight that a recommendation from someone without any skin in the game.
Weigh recommendations from former clients of the lawyer greater than recommendations from others, including attorneys, who have not actually worked with the attorney. Nothing substitutes for actual performance. If a former client is happy, you are more likely to be happy as well. Finally, weigh the recommendation of an attorney much greater weight than the recommendation of a law firm. If you walk in with the intention of hiring a firm rather than an attorney, odds are you will not be walking out with the best and brightest the firm has to offer.
Once you have a handful of recommendations, search for information about them online. Call them and ask questions. Briefly explain your situation and ask for their thoughts. You may be able to narrow the field down even further based upon experience, location, background, hourly rate, demeanor etc. Most importantly, set-up an in-person interview with your final group of candidates. What might be the best lawyer in the world for one client, might not be for another. Even for clients I have worked with for over a decade, I still recommend multiple lawyers. The qualifications of your final list of attorneys will be very similar. Any one of them should be equally capable of obtaining a favorable outcome on your behalf. The only difference will be the personal chemistry you have with the attorney you hire.
The core of any attorney/client relationship is communication. Better communication translates into cheaper, faster and better representation. Choose the attorney you feel communicates most efficiently with you and who best grasps your concerns. Assuming the attorney has the requisite skill set you need, basing your final selection on the quality of communication will pay greater and greater dividends as the relationship continues. Regardless of whether the attorney was or was not the best lawyer in the world when you met him or her, after years of solid communication the attorney will likely become the best lawyer in the world for you.
For more on the Best Lawyer in the World, check out these earlier posts: