Every person who has been injured in an accident and is considering hiring an attorney to help them with their personal injury claim should conduct some basic research regarding their choice before signing any contracts.
The general rule of thumb is the more serious your injury the more research you should conduct to make sure the attorney you select is right for your case.
AVOID TV LAWYERS
Most people do not realize that there is huge disparity in the level of service that you may receive on your case depending on who you retained to help you with the claim. Attorneys and law firms that take a huge volume of cases tend to also be the ones with the most dissatisfied clients after the fact. People feel like they are numbers and in some cases the interest of the law firm appeared to them to come before their own interests.
Law firms that advertise on TV typically have a very high volume practice handled by numerous attorneys and staff. It is not unheard of for a client to never speak with an attorney regarding their claim and deal only with staff once the case has been resolved. Many people report dissatisfaction with the results obtained by volume practice attorneys. Those firms simply pick up another file and don’t look back.
LOOK TO THE STATE BAR
Your individual state bar association will have information that can be helpful in determining whether the firm sure considering is right for you. Look specifically for whether or not grievances have been filed against a firm or an individual as well as the number of years the attorney has been in practice. Additionally, any specialties should be noted.
If you’re considering attorney who has at grievance filed against them, you should look into the allegations made against the attorney to see if it gives you any concern. The best predictor of future actions is what has occurred in the past. To find the disciplinary record of a Texas attorney click here:
A simple Google search will reveal many things including reviews and review sites and a Google News search will often turn up interesting information regarding a firm or an attorney. If a former client has sued the firm you are considering, you may want to look closely at whether or not this may be good fit for your case. But be wary or press releases which are authored by the firm, as most are simply marketing tactics.
Reviews can be very helpful in giving you a sense of the attorney you’re considering. It is important to look at the individual review closely for such things as whether or not the reviewer is from the same city as the law firm you are seeking. Also, many people have chosen to review attorneys who have not represented them. These may be ok for character opinions but not much use as far as the attorney’s ability goes.
A review from a potential client whose case was not handled by the law firm should be taken with a grain of salt. Likewise, reviews from actual clients that reference how the cases handled should be given careful consideration, particularly if the review was a similar case to yours.
PEER REVIEW RATINGS
While there are many different lawyer rating sites, the general consensus in the legal community is that the ratings based upon peer review, or lawyers rating other lawyers, hold the most credibility for evaluating the attorney’s abilities and ethics. Lawyers.com or Martindale Hubbell are the preeminent sources for peer review ratings of lawyers. Click here to research an attorney in Martindale:
CONSIDER WHO WILL ACTUALLY WORK YOUR CASE
The size of the law firm is also a factor to be considered when making your choice. Large is not always better, particularly when inexperienced associates or younger attorneys end up doing the majority, if not all of the meaningful work on your case. While new clients generally meet with the partners who are the “face” of the firm, unless you can get assurances that those partners will actually do all the work on the file, your case may end up being handled by inexperienced associates or younger partners. In that case you may discover that the Mercedes-Benz you were expecting to purchase ended up being a used VW.
Give consideration to the niche practice phenomenon where attorneys have focused their practice to individual personal injury areas. If the attorney handles a good percentage of his caseload with one specific type of case, they will not have to reinvent the wheel on your case and you are probably in pretty good hands provided the attorney passes the due diligence referenced above. You do not want an attorney learning on the job for your case. Find a niche attorney whenever possible.
Likewise, if the attorney does not handle this specific type of case frequently, it may not be a good fit for you.
A little bit of time spent researching an attorney and law firm you’re considering can pay big dividends and your odds of having a satisfactory experience will improve greatly. A great many people will attest that they first researched their attorney only after they became dissatisfied with the services they were being provided. By then the damage had been done.
In a personal injury arena, it’s a lot better to do your research up front before you sign any agreement with the attorney.