How to Choose a Law Firm
Most people rarely need an attorney and don’t know how to choose one. These pointers can help.
Ability & Service
First and foremost, a law firm should have the ability to obtain the results you deserve. They should also provide you with good service. Study the credentials and background of the firm’s attorneys. Review their website. Speak with the lawyers. How are you treated? Are your phone calls returned? Will the law firm provide you with the names of past clients you can contact as references?
Does the law firm have a track record of successfully resolving personal injury and wrongful death cases against large corporations? Substantial trial experience is also very important. Be aware that many lawyers have little to none. Even though most cases settle out of court, you will be in a stronger bargaining position during settlement talks if the other side knows your lawyers have the track record to beat them at trial.
In addition to a track record of strong results, do they really know what they’re doing? Not all law firms are created equal. Some are better than others, particularly at certain types of cases. And for certain types of unique skills, such as negotiation. While most cases settle before trial, you don’t automatically get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate. So your lawyers better be especially good at it. What emphasis do they put on the art and science of complex negotiation? What specialized training do they have? And how is it reflected in the firm’s results?
What is the lawyer’s Martindale-Hubbell rating? Martindale-Hubbell is a leading international resource that evaluates lawyers’ reputations among the people who actually work with and against them—other lawyers. The website is http://www.martindale.com. The best rating is AV—for lawyers with the highest levels of professional and ethical standards according to their peers.
Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
When choosing a law firm, bigger does not mean better. Many larger firms need to run through hundreds or thousands of cases at a time just to pay the big overhead, and have large bureaucracies that are difficult for their clients to navigate. Cases may be processed in batches so the unique aspects of each client are lost in the shuffle. When your lawyer is not paying attention to you, it’s easy to become frustrated and dissatisfied. Make sure when your lawyer is talking to you that you’re the most important client he or she has.
Ask whether the law firm ever partners with other lawyers to strengthen a client’s legal team. An experienced law firm is not reluctant to add other lawyers to the team when it’s in the client’s best interest, even if the firm has to share its attorneys’ fee. For example, sometimes attorneys join forces to share their research, expertise and other resources to build the best possible case for you. In other cases, depending on where you live, it’s helpful to involve local lawyers to gain a local perspective. But you don’t need to find a lawyer in the place where you think you’ll file suit; a good firm with national experience and know-how can manage your case wherever it’s filed.
Look for a law firm that works on a contingency fee basis. You pay no attorney’s fees unless the firm recovers compensation for you. The lawyer’s fees will be a percentage of that compensation.
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If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic injuries, contact our office today. We’re here to listen as well as to help you learn more about your legal options. Let us use our years of experience with difficult cases to help you recover the legal compensation you deserve.
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