Q: I’m looking to find an attorney who is familiar with cooperative homeowners association (HOA) law as some of the owners of my co-op have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court and we need to contest it. Can you refer us to an attorney who is familiar with coop HOA law?

A: I’m sorry, but the column policy is not to refer individual attorneys, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, home inspectors or appraisers. But I do have some suggestions on how to find a great attorney.

No matter where you live, a good place to start your search for an attorney is your local bar association. Often times, local bar associations will have free lawyer referral services. Someone will work with you over the phone to figure out exactly what is the nature of your problem and then help you find the right attorney for further consultation. If not, and you need a real estate attorney, you can ask for the head of the “real estate committee” of the bar association. Typically, that person is a very good actively practicing real estate attorney. (If you need a litigator, you’d call the head of the “litigation” committee, etc.)

Where else can you search for an attorney? Frequently you can ask friends and relatives to refer you to someone they know in a specific area. You can do a search on the Internet for an attorney in your area who has written extensively about a topic that you need assistance with. You can even call an attorney you have recently used for a real estate transaction or estate planning issues for a recommendation.

In some larger metropolitan areas, there are magazines and papers that list the top lawyers in various practice areas. Finally, you can search the database of attorneys at www.Martindale.com for a list of attorneys in your area. That website has a rather comprehensive list of attorneys. It does not include all attorneys, but does include a large number of attorneys nationwide. While the list may not tell you whether an attorney will exactly suit your needs, it would be a good place to start.

Jan. 19, 2009.