Nobody likes lawyers except when they need one. And sometimes even then. The profession is self-regulating, which means that lawyers must police one another to uphold the reputation of their trade. Unfortunately, the system has cracks and it may be no surprise that with over 150 law schools in the United States and close to 50,000 graduates per year, there are some bad apples in the profession.
So, if your uncle is not the distinguished professor from the Most Prestigious Law School, who are you supposed to ask to find a lawyer? Certainly, someone in your personal network will know a lawyer or know someone who knows a lawyer. Lawyers know lawyers, and hence it follows that you can find a lawyer through the referral "do you know" game. Often the first lawyer you contact will be someone who does trusts and estates law, or immigration law, but you need a litigator since you just got sued or a business lawyer since you want to start your own tech venture. Ask the lawyer you do know for a referral and usually most lawyers are happy to do this for no charge.
Alternatively, in New York City (and generally wherever you are located), there is the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, which has a legal referral service. The legal referral service keeps a list of qualified attorneys in each practice area. The City Bar's rigorous screening process means that you will be put in touch with a lawyer or lawyers qualified to help with your specific legal issue. In rural areas, you may have to check with your state's bar association, but most jurisdictions have something similar to help members of the public find quality legal representation. In New York, you can meet with a qualified attorney through the legal referral service for thirty minutes for only $35 (which goes to the legal referral service to help cover their overhead). After that you can discuss with the attorney their fees and see if they are the right one to represent you.
If all else fails, we are here and would be happy to help you find the right attorney to handle your legal needs. Be forewarned however, as stated in our disclaimer, we will need to execute a separate written engagement letter with you with terms for our mutual benefit for us to have formed a lawyer-client relationship.
We will keep writing blog posts that we think may be of interest to the general public, our clients and other attorneys. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you know when we have updated "The Blawg." Thanks, JMK.