Labor and Employment

How Do I Find a Wrongful Termination Lawyer?

By Sachi Barreiro, Attorney, University of San Francisco School of Law
Learn tips on where to look for a lawyer if you were wrongfully fired.

If you were fired illegally, it’s usually in your best to at least consult with an employment lawyer before you pursue your case. And, in many cases, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to win—especially if you end up filing a lawsuit against your employer. (To learn more, see our article on whether you need a lawyer for your wrongful termination case.) But, unless you happen to know an employment lawyer, how do you find one?

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?

If you have a wrongful termination case, you’ll need to hire a lawyer with expertise in employment litigation. This means someone with experience filing and winning lawsuits against employers for illegally firing their employees. These lawyers usually identify themselves as “employment lawyers” more generally, or “wrongful termination lawyers” more specifically. Most lawyers exclusively represent either employees or employers, so be sure to look for one who represents workers.

Where Can I Find an Employment Lawyer?

It might take a little bit of research and patience to find the right employment lawyer. There are several different ways to find a lawyer, including personal referrals, bar associations, and legal directories.

Personal Referrals

Word of mouth is a great way to find a good lawyer. Start by asking your friends or family if they can recommend a good employment lawyer. If someone gives you a recommendation, ask what the person specifically liked about the lawyer and whether the person was satisfied with the outcome of the case.

Other lawyers are also a good source of referrals because they often have expansive networks. If you have an estate lawyer or divorce lawyer, for example, chances are good that he or she can recommend an employment lawyer.

Bar Associations

Bar associations are professional organizations of lawyers. Each state has a bar association, and many cities or counties have one. These bar associations often have lawyer referral services, usually for a small fee (between $25 and $50). If you sign up for these services, you’ll be asked to provide some information about your case. You’ll then be matched up with one or more employment lawyers for a consultation.

Online Directories

Online lawyer directories are another good way to find employment lawyers in your area. These directories are often free, can be searched by city and state, and have detailed information about each lawyer. Lawyers.com has a lawyer directory, which can you use to search for lawyers in your area. You can also find a summary of the lawyer’s experience, read peer reviews, see recommendations from clients, and more. Or, you can fill out a free case evaluation here.

How Do I Choose a Lawyer?

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few lawyers, you should do a little bit of background research. Many state bar associations have websites where you can search for attorneys by name to make sure they’re licensed and to see if they have a history of any ethics violations. Most lawyers also have a website where you can learn more about their experience handling wrongful termination cases.

You should call up the lawyers that you’re interested in hiring to set up a consultation. Some employment lawyers offer free initial consultations, either over the phone or in person. However, others charge for these meetings, so be sure to find out about cost beforehand. To find out more about attorneys’ fees, see our article on how much wrongful termination lawyers cost.
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