Question: How and where do I go to hire a lawyer?
Answer: I've edited the length of your question because it was quite long and I wasn't sure everything you were asking was necessary. After my editing it's a two part question. I assume your curiosity about hiring a lawyer is because you have a claim and need to know how to find the right type of lawyer and in which state to hire one.
Where should the lawyer be practicing, would be the first part of your question and then where should you look to find and to hire a lawyer in that geographical local would be the final step. It's a good question so take nothing negative from my editing.
Where should the lawyer have an office?
You want to hire a lawyer in the place where the suit will be filed. The place where suit will be filed is normally the same place where the accident happened. So if you're on I-80 and traveling through Iowa on your way home to Indiana you would contact an Iowa personal injury lawyer. The exact county isn’t as important as hiring the right lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state where you were injured and whose practice includes the sort of problem you need solved. So if in Iowa you hire a lawyer that lives in Iowa and is licensed to practice law in Iowa. Using the car accident example that lawyer would be a personal injury lawyer.
How do I find the right type of lawyer?
Now let us discuss the how part of your question. No longer are you able to just open the phone book to look for a lawyer in any city or town. Today you would get on the Internet and search for the type of lawyer in the state where you were injured. In the example I'm using you would do a search for "Iowa I-80 personal injury lawyer".
Another way to find a lawyer you can trust to properly handle your work would be through referrals. Ask your friends who they call upon to do their legal work and then contact those lawyers and ask for a referral. Many lawyers including myself have friends and colleagues' in different states and who practice in the same areas as we do. We've met them through conferences and associations, become familiar with how they practice and trust them with referral work from our end. As an example in Illinois I'm quite friendly with Nick Avgerinos a law school classmate from Drake (workers' compensation and personal injury), in Michigan it would be Dave Mittlerman (personal injury and other litigation) and in North Carolina I refer my friends, family and clients to Lawrence Edgerton (workers' compensation, personal injury and social security law). I personally make referrals to many different lawyers covering the entire country. I normally won't refer to someone I'm not familiar with because I won't make a bad referral. I've established these friendships for a good reason; this is a very mobile society. The interstate highway system allows people to literally cross the country in a matter of days. We can be home one day and two days later be in an accident in Florida, California, Boston or Austin, Texas. I've had Iowa clients who need a referral to lawyers in Miami, Boston, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle and in Canada, just to name a few. So seek a referral from some lawyer you are familiar with and who practices in the state where you reside. It's like having your friends set you up on a date.
To sum it up, you want a lawyer licensed to practice in Iowa and one who practices in the area of personal injury.
Make sense? Good luck and if we can help give us a call.