How do you find a good foreign lawyer?

No.. it’s not a trick question – although it may be easier said than done!

It can be hard enough to find a good lawyer on home soil so how do you find one to help with an overseas legal transaction?

There are many reasons why the assistance of foreign lawyer may be needed and their help can be invaluable. This is particularly true when dealing with overseas legal matters and faced with unfamiliar cultures, languages and procedures.

But where do you start? Do you need a solicitor, an Advogado, abogado or attorney? What is an Escribano or a notaire and what do they do?

Many people are, quite rightly, wary of taking a recommendation from an overseas estate agent, developer or a third party on the other side of the transaction, anxious that they might be connected to them and would not provide the most independent advice.

Not all lawyers are the same or do the same thing, so how do you find the right foreign lawyer for you?

Referrals from friends and family are of course the most valuable source as personal experience is priceless.

Online enquiries via a search engine are one of the most popular sources used. Most lawyers have their own website which can provide useful information about what they do and how they work. There can however be thousands of lawyers in each country dealing with a spectrum of specialisms with varying degrees of competency and a simple Google search can bring up thousands of results.

There are also many online directories containing contact details for lawyers. These don’t usually offer recommendations, verify the lawyers or conduct any checks on those listed so you would have to undertake this yourself.

You will also need to consider questions such as: Are they are qualified to act in the country in question? Do they specialise in transactions like yours? Do they speak English? Do they have professional indemnity insurance protecting you should things go wrong? Is there an independent regulatory body to which you can report the lawyer should you need to?

Buying a property abroad or expanding your business overseas are big financial commitments with serious legal and financial consequences. The advice of a reliable independent and competent lawyer should not be undervalued and finding a lawyer that you trust to guide you is one of the most important parts of the process.

A responsible lawyer will do more than just spout the law, they can guide you through an alien process with unknown and complex concepts. A good lawyer will help you take care of the practicalities.

Ongoing matters including inheritance and tax laws of the country in question should also be considered. A good lawyer should consider these at the outset before issues arise and before it is too late.

If you need help to find a trusted independent English speaking lawyer abroad contact Worldwide Lawyers who can connect you to a specialist legal advisor qualified to advise you in relation to your overseas legal needs.