Americans can be a self sufficient lot. We like to try to figure things out for ourselves, if we can. Take, for instance, when we are faced with a legal issue or question. Most Americans in this situation will take to the Internet (and FindLaw.com) to try to research the issue themselves.

Then, more often than not, they go looking for a local attorney for help.

It’s no surprise that 61% of Americans try to figure out legal questions online, according to FindLaw’s Consumer Needs Survey. But if they find the issue is too complicated, 42% of respondents’ next move is to contact an attorney.

So what about once they’ve decided they need an attorney? What are some of the factors Americans consider when it’s time to choose legal counsel?

Here’s what the FindLaw survey found:

  • An attorney’s expertise in the field is the most important factor.
  • Almost three quarters of respondents believe that it is important to have a local attorney.
  • People want to know if the state bar has taken disciplinary action against the attorney and whether they are licensed.

Since FindLaw is the top source for legal information, with over 5 million visitors a month, it’s no surprise that FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory has a lot of these answers. The Directory lists attorneys by practice area and geographic location.

So if you’ve decided to give it a shot on your own and try to do some legal research FindLaw should be your first stop. We even have free, downloadable mini guides to help you through everyday issues, plus in-depth explanatory pages on things like DUI, small businesses and child custody.

And then, if you realize you need the help of a legal expert, our Lawyer Directory has plenty of local attorneys for you to call. Happy researching!

— Werner Colangelo, Audience Manager
with Adam Ramirez, FindLaw Audience Team

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