Find other small companies, and ask for them to recommend a lawyer or law firm. That is also how you find your accountant.
During the early years your needs may change. When they change ask your current lawyer for a recommendation, or ask other mid sized businesses.
You can also look for a mentor to give you advice regarding this choice.
I have experiences with lawyers but not with much success:
With hind sight, I would use these points, in future as a guide line:
a) don't go to court, it is a waste of time
b) but if dragged to court, find a lawyer who ask for good fees, he should be in demand for him to quote high fees.
c)Check up if he know the legal knowledge and technical knowledge.Most of them would know one of them but not he other
d) One man-show lawyer ,should not he appointee,is out of the question, he needs a proper supporting staff
e)Check continuously if he is doing his job. if suspicious of slacking drop him quickly and change...lawyer
Much depend not merely on the lawyer, sometime in litigation case, the out come depend on what kind of judge sitting on you case.He could be a lesser of a judge who does not know how to judge or worst still highly corrupt judge he might be...so what good is a good lawyer
As a lawyer- I'd say expertise in the specific field you need. That counts a lot more than educational background, I think.
From my understanding becoming a lawyer isn't something you just read a couple of books on at college, show up and do a quick multiple choice exam and get your degree. Studying to become a lawyer is a very involved process (I have a friend currently studying to be lawyer). So I'd say especially considering it is in a lawyers best interest and credibility to ensure you're given the correct and truthful information you don't need to evaluate a lawyer.
Unless you're talking about evaluating a lawyer on something ultra specific, I don't see why you would need too. As I said for a lawyer to graduate and be a successful lawyer they need an understanding of basic law which should easily meet the needs of 95% of all people that enlist the services of a lawyer.
And to be honest if you were to evaluate a lawyer you'd most likely be a lawyer yourself as you would be able to know if they're lying about something or not. What you're asking is like saying: "How can I evaluate a mechanic" or "How can I evaluate a heart surgeon", unless you're either or have a lot of knowledge on the subject you don't evaluate.