There's more independent, verifiable information available today than ever before for anyone needing to hire a lawyer. Sources for information on choosing the right lawyer for your case include word-of-mouth, newspaper advertisements, radio and television advertisements, local and state bar associations, and Internet sites.
The primary service used by lawyers to find other lawyers in out-of-town locations is Martindale Hubbell. Biographies on individual attorneys and law firms include the usual information on degrees, affiliations, awards, and so forth. Also available is information on practice areas, typical clients, published appellate court decisions in cases where the attorney provided representation, and, most importantly, two ratings: one for ethics and one for quality.
The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification is the paramount service for establishing an attorney's status as a specialist in particular fields. Many states rely on NBLSC certification before allowing an attorney to claim himself or herself to be a Trial Specialist.
To learn whether your attorney is certified as a specialist in Tennessee, visit Tennessee CLE.
Other internet based services can identify attorneys in your area that seek clients in particular fields. If an attorney seeks a particular type of case by including his or her name in such listings, there is no certification that he or she is qualified or certified as a specialist in that particular field. Examples are attorneylocate.com, attorneyhunter.com, attorneypages.com, FreeAdvice.com, and LegalDirectories.com.
Specialty groups such as the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Divorce Net , and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have their own websites.
Nationally, the two organizations most commonly recognized are the American Bar Associationand the American Association for Justice.
In Tennessee, similar statewide organizations exist: the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Association for Justice. Numerous local bar associations exist that can and will supply information about attorneys specializing in particular fields.