I will send you my free guide, which is used for private attorneys, but it will give you some idea of what to look for in legal aid/pro bono attorneys. The other site I use is avvo dot com, which lists every lawyer in the U.S., including me.
Landlord-tenant attorneys Nashville: 19 lawyers (private attorneys)
Here is my free guide:
How to choose an attorney. THIS IS HOW I WOULD PICK AN ATTORNEY IF I NEEDED ONE FOR MYSELF IN ANOTHER FIELD OF LAW.
Here's what to look for and what to avoid.
Avoid: Any red mark next to an attorney's name, such as misconduct. That usually means the lawyer was either disbarred, censured, cited for misconduct, or suspended from the practice of law.
Ignore: Ratings, such as 6.5 or 10, which is the highest. A 6.5 attorney may be even better than a 10. It's difficult to say. The site has its own formula for rating attorneys and many attorneys get a 10 because they belong to bar associations and sometimes give lectures. That does not necessarily mean they're the best when it comes to going to court.
Remember: People who charge the most aren’t necessarily the best! I know people who charged twice as much as I did and I have won cases against them easily in court. Don’t be fooled by price.
What to look for: See what the clients’ reviews state, especially in the field that you're interested in (i.e. family law, wills, custody, guardianship, etc.). That is probably going to be the most important thing. Many people have not been reviewed, but if there are a bunch of them who are, go with the ones who have multiple reviews and whose reviews are outstanding. You don't want someone who is a family lawyer but who has been rated as an excellent criminal lawyer. That won't help you. You want them rated as an excellent family lawyer if that's what you're looking for.
I would also suggest you find someone who has been practicing at least 10 years, the more the better(15-20 is even better). The site will tell you how long they're practicing law. You don't want someone just a few years out of law school to take on your tough case.
If there are hundreds of lawyers on the link I’m sending to you, you don’t have to review all of them. Just look at the first few “pages” and that will be enough. Don’t make yourself crazy looking at all of the lawyers there.
I also suggest that you find someone who does primarily family law – if that’s what you’re looking for – or any other type of law you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a family lawyer (or any other type of lawyer), the site I am sending you to shows what percentage of the lawyer’s business is family law (or the other type of law you are looking for). If you want a family lawyer, you should find someone who does mostly family law cases – at least 50% -- or exclusively family law cases (100%). I am an appellate attorney who does family law cases, and I do appeals exclusively now. I list myself as doing appeals for 85% of my practice, and I show that the appeals are for family law, custody and child abuse. Someone looking for a family law appellate attorney would know that that’s what I do. So consider the percentage of work they do in the area of law that you want. If it’s 20% or something similar, and they do several types of law, you should find another lawyer. Find someone who spends most of his or her time doing the type of law you want to hire them for.
Take Action: Take a few names and make some phone calls. Ask for a free consultation -- see if you can get one. If you don't feel confident in the lawyer, find another one. That's why it's good to make a list of the ones you want, maybe 5-6 lawyers and you'll find one. It’s okay to walk out of a lawyer’s office and don’t sign anything if you’re not comfortable with the lawyer. You usually want an aggressive lawyer to help you and someone who will return phone calls.
If you can take someone with you to interview the lawyer, that would be a good idea. It’s always good to have another opinion.
You can always fire a lawyer if you're not happy but once the case is underway, you may need court permission to do so, so make sure you like the lawyer!