Tips for Hiring an Out-of-State Lawyer



The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has several guidelines addressing areas that potential clients should discuss before hiring a lawyer. These recommendations include retaining a lawyer that specializes in the area of law where assistance is required. State and local bar associations can be a great place to start. However, those hiring an attorney should research and ask about relevant experience and similar cases. Furthermore, the FTC highly recommends that those retaining the assistance of an attorney obtain clarity regarding fees and what those fees cover. It is best that this information is in writing in a clear and direct manner. However, when hiring an attorney that is out-of-state, these matters may be difficult. Therefore, there are certain steps that clients can take to facilitate the process.

Do you need an out-of-state attorney?

Although the constitution is the law of the land and governs the country, the United States is a dual federalism. Therefore, each state has a set of laws and these may differ from other places. When a legal matter occurs outside of your state, it may be necessary to hire a person who is in that area and is proficient on the local laws to represent you. Even transactions that take place outside of your home state may require an external attorney. For example, an out-of-state claimant or a person purchasing or selling a property in a different state may need representation in that area. Other individuals that are being sued by residents of a different state may also need to consider such a need. Therefore, hiring a lawyer that has the license to practice law in that section of the country will provide the necessary level of representation in those cases.

Check for qualification and hiring process

The process of hiring an attorney that lives elsewhere in the country is like hiring one near you. The difference is that they will need to hold a license or bar card in said location and have a law degree or Juris Doctor. Every other guideline, however, will be similar. Even if you are looking for an attorney that is close to you, communication is key. Therefore, you will want to hire someone who takes an active interest in your case and invests the necessary time to explain all pertinent information and answers questions in the detail that you require. The critical aspect is to find one that fits your needs and your personality.

Some people are more involved than others, so understand your requirements and look for those who have an approach that aligns with your character and methods. Make sure to ask for recommendations and read reviews. Consider talking to more than one attorney before deciding.  Also, make sure that the lawyer and firm specialize in your area of need. For example, a motorcycle accident attorney in Pennsylvania will not necessarily be the best choice to handle a divorce case in a different state. Focus on searching and reading recommendations for the area of law that covers your specific case.

Each case may differ, and some may warrant the need for special accommodations. Therefore, it is best to use these special conditions to filter out and look for firms that can provide the services or partner with companies that cater to special needs. For example, some clients may expect language and translation services. Others may require handling out of state testimony. In some pending litigation, law firms may use stenographers to record witness dispositions. So, if the occurrence took place in South Florida and the situation warrants such a service, ask potential law firms if they work with court reporting companies in Miami or the general area.  Ultimately, make sure that whoever you hire has the knowledge and capability of serving your legal needs.