Pittsburgh Law Firms

Pittsburgh Law Firms

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Pittsburgh Law Firms

Guide to Pittsburgh Law Firms

The city of Pittsburgh has so many lawyers and law firms that it can be difficult to know which Pittsburgh law firm to choose.  For people who have not previously hired a lawyer, it's even tougher to understand all the available options.  This guide will explain the different types of Pittsburgh law firms that are available for clients, and give you a better understanding of your own needs and preferences so that you can narrow down your options on your own.

Understanding Your Legal Problem

Before you can begin to look for Pittsburgh law firms to represent you, you need to know what it is you're looking for.  Start by getting out a pen and paper and writing down the legal problem that you want representation by a Pittsburgh law firm for.  You should try to keep your description short (1-2 sentences) and keep it strictly legal rather than emotional.

After writing the brief description of your legal issue, you should consider what your ideal resolution to this problem would be.  Try to write a brief description of how you want the situation to be resolved by Pittsburgh law firms.

Your Pittsburgh Law Firm Needs

Once you have written down what you are hoping to get out of your association with Pittsburgh law firms, you can start considering what you want in a firm.  Do you want a Pittsburgh law firm with personal touches, or a firm that is all business?  Do you want a lawyer who is aggressive, or one focused on mediation and settlement?

There are no right or wrong needs.  No Pittsburgh law firm is perfect for every client, and wrtiing down what you are hoping for will help you weed out Pittsburgh law firms that won't meet your needs.

Types of Firms: Big Law Firms

Not every client needs the services offered by a big Pittsburgh law firm with over a hundred lawyers and many support staff, but for some clients, the services offered by large Pittsburgh law firms are the best fit.  These firms generally have a very businesslike atmosphere and tend to take on high-profile, high-budget clients rather than people with a relatively simple legal issue.  Here are some signs you may need to hire a large Pittsburgh law firm:

ñ You are looking for Pittsburgh law firms on behalf of a corporate entity rather than for your own legal needs.  A large Pittsburgh law firm will already have numerous corporate clients and will be responsive to the unique needs of a corporation.

ñ You want to find a law firm that can represent you for a long time and give you advice about many different specialty legal issues.  The higher number of lawyers means that there will be a lawyer with experience in nearly any field you need.

ñ You want a law firm that looks like a business and functions like one, including a corporate-style hierarchy and often many branches in different cities or even countries.

Types of Law Firms: Small Firms

While large Pittsburgh law firms present a good option for many corporations and high-profile clients who can afford their high costs (a big Pittsburgh law firm may have hourly billing rates of $500 for partners and over $200 even for new associates), people with more restricted budgets are priced out of large firm offices.  These clients will need to look at small firms, which offer their own unique advantages in terms of cost and environment.

A small Pittsburgh law firm is likely to be more flexible about payment arrangements than large Pittsburgh law firms, which use hourly billing almost exclusively.  You may be able to find a flat fee structure that fits your budget at many of these firms, particularly if your legal concern is a relatively common one.  Generally, most misdemeanor criminal defense, bankruptcy, and divorce cases are handled with flat fees rather than hourly rates by small Pittsburgh law firms.

Non-financial reasons to look for a small Pittsburgh law firm may also factor into your decision.  If you want a warmer, friendlier environment, a small firm may be better for your needs.  You may also like the easier access that you will have to your attorney at small Pittsburgh law firms—at a larger Pittsburgh law firm, you may end up talking to your lawyer's secretary more than your lawyer.

Types of Law Firms: Practice Areas

Choosing the size of the Pittsburgh law firm you want to represent you is important, but equally important is understanding what practice areas you need to look for.  While most Pittsburgh law firms used to be so-called “general practice” firms that accepted clients for a very broad range of cases, today's legal environment is very different and most firms choose to specialize—which means that many firms will turn cases away if they lack experience in a particular legal field.

Some general practice Pittsburgh law firms still exist, and you may want to use a Pittsburgh law firm that accepts all types of cases if you expect to need a lawyer several times for different issues.  In these circumstances, many people prefer to develop an ongoing lawyer/client relationship instead of having to start over every time they have a new legal issue.

Specialty practices are best for clients who do not anticipate an ongoing need for a lawyer/client relationship after their current legal issue is resolved.  Finding the Pittsburgh law firm with the most experience with cases like yours can make a big difference.

Keep in mind that different practices have different levels of specialization—for instance, if you have an asbestos-related illness, some Pittsburgh law firms that specialize in personal injury claims could help you, but you may also want a Pittsburgh law firm that handles asbestos cases exclusively.

Once you know the size and practice area you want from your Pittsburgh law firm, you can begin your search with confidence.  Finding Pittsburgh law firms to take your case is much easier once you understand these differences and what your own needs are.

 

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