When Hiring a Lawyer, How Far Is Too Far? 

You may have heard the phrase “all real estate is local,” meaning that no matter what you see in the national news if you’re looking for property, you need to talk to someone who knows the details of your local market. Looking for a lawyer to hire is similar. You’ll want someone who knows the ins and outs of the jurisdiction where your legal issue arises. 

Seek an Attorney Who Is Licensed in the State Where You Need Help

Whatever your legal concern, you should search for an attorney who is licensed in the state where your matter will be heard. For example, if you live in Minnesota and are getting divorced, you will need a Minnesota-licensed divorce lawyer. 

Similarly, if you visit from another state and end up needing a lawyer, you should look for one who is licensed in Minnesota. For example, if you suffer a  personal injury or get arrested, you would want to find a Minnesota attorney who handles those cases (we handle all these types of cases and more at White & Associates).

How Local Should Your Attorney Be?

This can be a tough question. Generally, we think it’s a good idea to work with an attorney who regularly practices in the county where your case is filed. They don’t necessarily need to have an office in the county, but they should handle cases there on a fairly regular basis.

Why? Lawyers who regularly work in a specific county have the advantage of knowing the local judges, courthouse personnel, other lawyers, and, of course, the rules and procedures required in that locality.

Let’s use our own law firm as an example. Our office is located in Elk River, which is Sherburne County, and we practice extensively here. Sherburne County is part of the Twin Cities metro area, and we also practice regularly in all of the counties in the metro. These include:

  • Anoka County
  • Carver County
  • Chisago County
  • Dakota County
  • Hennepin County
  • Isanti County
  • Le Sueur County
  • Mille Lacs County
  • Pierce County
  • Ramsey County
  • Scott County
  • St. Croix County
  • Washington County
  • Wright County

Because we practice in these counties, we know what rules to follow in each jurisdiction and we have relationships with other legal professionals in those areas. 

This kind of local knowledge benefits you greatly as a client, as you can be confident in your attorney’s ability to move your case forward. It doesn’t mean you’ll win—there are no guarantees—but at least your case won’t be harmed by a failure to follow procedure.

What About Your Own Location?

While it may be convenient to hire a lawyer down the street from your house so you could easily visit, we don’t think people always need to hire a lawyer who is close by. Modern technology makes it possible to work with a lawyer who is hours away from you. You can video conference with your lawyer, talk on the phone or email. 

For example, even though we are in the Twin Cities metro, we can represent clients who live in Greater Minnesota when they have legal needs in the metro. These clients maybe three or four hours away, but the actual case is happening in a metro-area court. 

The client may need to come to the metro for a hearing or two, and that can certainly be an inconvenience for them, but the benefits of working with a local lawyer tend to be worth it. 

Similarly, clients from other states who have a legal matter in Minnesota can’t really base their selection of attorney on physical closeness; distance will always be involved. Again, the main consideration here is to find a lawyer who practices in the local area where your case arises.

Hire a Minnesota Lawyer Today

At White & Associates, we represent clients in criminal defense, personal injury, family law, and estate planning cases throughout the Twin Cities metro. We would be happy to speak with you and explain how we might be able to help.

To get started, please call our Elk River office at 763-241-0477 or send us a message anytime.