Choosing A Lawyer
Most people have never needed a personal injury lawyer, wrongful death attorney, or employment lawyer. As a result, they don’t know where to start when selecting this type of lawyer. Consider that most personal injury cases take a significant amount of time to work up and resolve. So you will be working with your lawyer and that lawyer’s firm for a while. How you relate to them is one important factor.
Insurance companies and defendants—the people who have to pay to settle—make decisions about the value of your case in part based on the personal injury lawyer you select. Lawyers with a good track record, experience in the field, and trial experience are going to cause them greater concern. Remember that contingency fee lawyers—lawyers like us—usually won’t charge for an initial consultation. If a lawyer wants to charge you for that initial meeting, we suggest you choose someone else. Here are some factors you should think about when choosing a lawyer:
- How many years has the firm or lawyer focused in the particular area of law?
- Is the firm or lawyer a specialist or generalist?
- Does the firm have extensive trial experience? If the other side knows your lawyer settles every case and rarely goes to trial, your case will suffer as a result.
- Does the firm have a winning trial record?
- Has the firm handled similar cases successfully in the past?
- Does the lawyer advance all case costs and charge you nothing unless and until the case is resolved in your favor?
- Are the lawyers members of invitation-only organizations like the American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, or other similar groups?
- Do the lawyers serve as officers or board members for professional groups?
- Have the lawyers received any awards for their work?
- Is the firm or lawyer willing to let you speak with past or current clients to discuss their experiences?
- Do you like the lawyers and their staff? Do they inspire trust?
There are many good firms out there. A handful that excel in serious personal injury cases, wrongful death claims and employment issues are great. And there are many—the heavy advertisers and mills who want to settle your case as quickly as possible—who you might want to avoid. Don’t make the decision lightly.