How to Hire a Lawyer

January 31, 2024


If you find yourself facing a legal problem you can’t resolve, it may be time to call a professional.  Lawyers can handle a variety of issues, including divorce, child custody, estate planning, starting a business, or providing a legal defense in a lawsuit.

Hiring a lawyer can be intimidating, but we have a few pointers for getting started. Head to our Hiring an Attorney guide for a full rundown.

How do I find a lawyer?

There are lots of options that can help you locate an experienced lawyer in your area. The State Bar of Texas (SBOT) has an online directory of attorneys licensed in Texas. You can search by name, location, practice area, languages spoken, and more.

Bar association websites, lawyer referral services, and legal directories are a good ways to research qualified attorneys. See the Finding an Attorney page of our guide for more details on finding and choosing a lawyer.

Can the library refer me to a specific attorney?

The library can’t make referrals to specific lawyers, but we’re happy to suggest options for finding one.

How much will it cost?

It will depend on the attorney’s fees and the specifics of your situation. It’s a good idea to talk to the lawyer about their fees and what to expect. See the Attorneys’ Fees page for more details.

I can’t afford a lawyer. Can I get a free lawyer?

Maybe. Various legal aid organizations provide free or low-cost legal assistance to low-income Texans. These organizations can only help with specific civil issues (like landlord/tenant problems or child custody issues, for example). Texans must also meet specific income guidelines to qualify.

See the library’s Legal Assistance Organizations page for a list of legal aid groups that offer services to the public. For groups that help with specific legal issues like domestic violence or immigration, see the library’s Legal Advocacy Organizations page.

Don’t I have the right to an attorney?

A person facing criminal charges has the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1.051 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

However, most people in civil cases do not have the right to a court-appointed lawyer. There are some exceptions, though; see the Court-Appointed Attorneys page for more info.

What if I have a problem with my lawyer?

There are several approaches you can use to try to resolve the issue on your own first. Our Resolving Disputes page has more information on how to handle common problems with your lawyer.

If you’re still having issues, it may be time to contact the SBOT’s Client-Attorney Assistance Program, which can help resolve minor issues between lawyers and their clients. The SBOT also has a process for filing a grievance against a lawyer for serious complaints.

Got another question about finding a lawyer? The library is happy to help! Head to our Ask a Librarian page for assistance.

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