Perhaps you’ve been involved in an accident, are considering a divorce, or being harassed on your job? Most people either grab the phone book or do a general search on the internet. There are much better resources, though, for finding a great attorney in Ohio.
The Ohio State Bar Association has a program where attorneys are certified as “specialists” in their particular area of law. In order to be listed as a “specialist,” the attorneys must meet certain standards required by the Ohio Supreme Court. These standards include:
- passing a written test in their area of law;
- showing that they are substantially involved in practicing in the area in which they want to become specialists;
- meeting all of their Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements (which means they take at least 12 hours per year of legal classes or seminars); and
- being evaluated by at least five other attorneys or judges who have actually worked with them.
Basically, these attorneys have to prove that they have the skill and expertise to be listed as a specialist. There are nine areas of law in Ohio where an attorney can obtain specialist status:
- Administrative Agency Law (government agencies)
- Appellate Law (appeals)
- Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
- Family Law (divorce, dissolution, child support, etc.)
- Federal Tax Law
- Labor and Employment Law
- Real Property – Business, Commercial and Industrial Law
- Real Property – Residential Law
- Workers’ Compensation Law
For a listing of attorneys who specialize in these areas of law, go to http://www.ohiobar.org, click on Certification, and at the bottom of the page, you will find the link for List of OSBA Certified Specialists by Practice Area.
Another good resource for finding a quality attorney is the publication The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward-White Publishing). For over 25 years, this publication has compiled a list of attorneys who have been confidentially reviewed by other attorneys that they have found to be outstanding attorneys. The attorneys being reviewed does not pick the other attorneys who review them, so this is not something where attorneys have all their friends tell Woodward-White that they are great attorneys so they can be listed in the book. And the attorneys do not just pay a fee to get listed in the book. It is regarded as one of the most unbiased sources of legal referrals and is really a huge honor for those who are listed. It also covers 126 different practice areas, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the Ohio State Bar website, this is a good alternative to finding someone in your area of law. Check it out at http://www.bestlawyers.com.
Now, keep in mind, these attorneys are not going to come cheap. But, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Think about it, when something in your life gets to the point where you need an attorney for help, do you really want the cheapest option? And, please also keep in mind, the cost may seem outrageous, but these attorneys have spent four years in college and three years in law school, racking up outrageous tuition bills (and, in most cases, student loans). They have spent years honing their skills and becoming excellent lawyers. Try to compare it to finding the best doctor. If you needed surgery for yourself or someone you love, would you really want to go with the cheapest option? No. Would you try to bargain with your doctor about the cost? No. A good attorney is like a good surgeon: he/she will find the problem and fix the problem. There is no cost big enough for that kind of peace of mind.