|Avoiding Grief with a Lawyer|
Commonly Asked Questions & InformationSome of the information contained here is used with permission from The New York Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection's Avoiding Grief with a Lawyer: A Practical Guide © 1998
Lawyers are essential in a civilized, democratic and just society. For good reason: it's the lawyers unique duty to protect people from abuses by government and it's agents, and to help remedy the wrongs of others, whether they be strangers or spouses, employers, or multinational corporations.
It's not easy to become a lawyer. There's a demanding course of law-school study after college, and a difficult bar examination to test the candidate's knowledge of laws and court procedures. There's also an investigation of the lawyer-to-be's moral character and fitness to practice law before the oath of office can be administered. [Admission FAQs.]
How Do I Find A Lawyer?
In selecting a lawyer, the consumer should take the same careful steps that one takes in choosing a physician or a dentist, or a home contractor. If you do not know a lawyer, ask friends, neighbors, or others whose opinion you respect for a recommendation. You may also contact the Lawyer Referral and Information Service sponsored by the State Bar of Montana at (406) 449-6577 or on our website under the 'Legal Help' button. This service is a free, non-profit service offered by the State Bar of Montana. It’s an outstanding resource when you feel you need an attorney but you’re not sure whom to turn to. Each year, LRIS staff handles thousands of calls from the public, assisting with various legal situations and providing information, resources and referrals.
The Yellow Pages of telephone directories and other advertising journals can be helpful, but consumers should be careful. A paid advertisement is just that; it's not an official endorsement or guarantee.
In The Beginning
Helpful guidelines to consider when hiring a lawyer:
Establish the Ground Rules
A few rules of thumb to follow with your attorney:
How Do I File A Complaint Against My Attorney?The State Bar of Montana is not the authority that regulates and disciplines attorneys licensed in Montana. Complaints should be made to the Montana Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, whose purpose is to investigate and prosecute complaints of professional misconduct against lawyers. Their office can be reached at (406) 442-1648 or toll-free, in-state 877-442-1648.
The Responsibilities of a Lawyer & the Responsibilities of the Client