Lucy King* Choosing an attorney may seem like a simple task when you see advertisements for law firms everywhere you turn. However, commercials and billboards don’t always mean that this particular attorney is best for you, or that they’re local.
When you’re looking for lawyers for injury claims, it’s important to know how to pick one who will be the right fit for your legal representation.
1. Look at How Other Personal Injury Attorneys Rate Them
If you want to find someone local who you can rely on, one of the best resources is to look at what other personal injury lawyers say. The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry is one of the top authoritative resources about members of the legal community. You can also look at the Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.
2. Reputation: See What Previous Clients Have to Say
All glowing reviews could indicate paid advertisements, but one with mostly good reviews means they must be doing something right. You can start narrowing down your list of local attorneys based on how satisfied previous clients were with their case outcomes.
Reputation for being a successful lawyer handling the sort of case you have is a key consideration and one of the best ways to find these people is to consider credible reviews and speak to the local Bar Association or – better still – previous clients.
3. Experience Representing Cases Similar to Yours
With local attorneys, you will find an abundance of them who work on personal injury cases. However, if you have been in a car accident, you won’t want to choose an attorney who focuses more on medical malpractice. Personal injury laws are incredibly complex and it takes intricate knowledge in each area to provide the best legal representation.
You wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon to treat a foot problem, and the same type of logic applies here when choosing a local injury attorney.
So choose a specialist lawyer with experience in the area you require assistance with.
4. Length of Time in Practice
While there may be nothing wrong with a newer attorney, choosing one with extensive experience may be a better fit. Look at how many years they’ve been practicing in the local area and go for one who has a number of years under their belt.
Experience in this context counts. It’s not everything, after all there are plenty of great up-and-coming lawyers who can help, but to be on the safe side you should go with the experience in most cases.
5. Courtroom Experience
In most cases, personal injury lawsuits will be settled through negotiations before they reach a courtroom. While this will mean less stress for you and perhaps a quicker resolution, you will want a local attorney who is prepared to go all the way for you. Trial experience is imperative, as is a high success rate.
Be wary of attorneys who don’t ever head to trial or who roll over to the insurance companies. The insurance companies must be under the impression that your lawyer is ready to have the case tried in court. Sometimes, settling is the best option, but a lawyer who always settles is one who won’t fight for your worth.
6. Located Nearby
There are many large law firms that have offices in several states. While they may have a law office near you, they are less likely to meet your needs. Firms like this will have many cases and may not offer you the best experience.
Look for a smaller firm located in your area to ensure you’ve got someone who is willing to advocate for you. Furthermore, such firms are more likely to have greater local knowledge and knowledge of the local lawyers and legal frameworks that can add that ‘x factor’ when it comes to achieving a successful outcome for your case.
7. Successful Track Record
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an attorney who wins every time, but the ones with a strong success record are the best ones to choose. Experience and qualification to handle your case are two key considerations when choosing a decent lawyer to handle your claim.
Be cautious of an attorney who promises you a certain outcome. They can tell you how things may play out, but they will never guarantee a slam-dunk case. Lawsuits come with a risk, but if this attorney has been successful with cases like yours in the past, you may also come out of it with the same results.
8. Keeps You Informed and Communicates
In larger law firms, you may be pawned off on paralegals and junior associates when you call to get an update on your case.
Smaller local firms are more adept at providing personalized attention and service. Ask your attorney during the consultation if they will be communicating directly with you and how often you can expect to hear from them. You should also feel at ease with this attorney and like they care.
Your lawyers’ availability and responsiveness are two key factors to consider when choosing your lawyer.
9. Let the Initial Consultation Be Your Guide
Never just show up at a law office and expect the first person you speak with to take your case. Use these tips to compile a list of local attorneys and sit down with each of them for a free consultation.
You will be able to find out about what fees you will pay at the end if you win as well as get to know more about these attorneys. This will help you pick a local injury attorney who truly meets your needs.
Source: T Madden & Associates, Stockbridge, MA
Lucy King is legal and public affairs writer who writes for publications in the US and Canada. She publishes as blog on consumer and service affairs.