How do you go about making sure that you have selected the very best attorney for your situation? Deciding on which attorney to use is just like picking any other service or product. Don’t go in blind. It is always best, with any purchase, to do as much research as possible on the item or service that you intend to buy so that you are able to make an educated decision that best reflects your personal needs.
The first thing that you should do is look up attorneys with experience in the practice area that is relevant to your needs. Careful research of each potential new attorney should then be conducted. Selecting the best attorney for your legal needs is not a process that should be gone through hastily. Some other steps that you need to take to make sure you get the attorney that is the best fit for you are:
Conduct Interviews of Potential Attorneys
One of the most useful ways to evaluate an attorney’s legal capabilities is by simply interviewing each of them. Most attorneys will offer an introductory consultation, conducted in about an hour or less, for free. Some good questions for you to ask during that consultation might be:
- How much experience do they have regarding your specific type of case?
- How long have they been practicing?
- What is their ratio of wins to losses?
- What percentage of their current caseload is made up of legal issues similar to the one that you are having?
- Do they have any certifications or special skill sets?
- How are there fees structured?
- How much malpractice insurance do they carry?
- Which attorney(s) specifically would be working on your lawsuit? Are there rates the same?
- Is any portion of the work that they do outsourced?
- Are there any additional costs for which you should expect to be billed?
- How often will you be billed?
- Are they able to provide you with any references from past clients?
- Do they have a representation agreement or a written fee agreement?
- How will they keep you abreast of the developments in your lawsuit?
It is important to remember that a higher priced attorney does not necessarily mean that they are better or more experienced. A bargain basement priced attorney, however, could indicate serious issues such as a lack of experience or flat-out incompetence. After you have met with and interviewed your chosen attorneys, you need to ask yourself some questions as well. Questions such as:
- Do you feel like the attorney’s legal background and experience qualify him to adequately represent you?
- Were their answers to your questions given promptly, well thought out, and courteous?
- Is this attorney someone with whom you could comfortably work?
- Do you feel confident in their skills and abilities?
- Are you okay with their fee structure and schedule? Are you comfortable with their billing process?
- Are you at ease with the terms of the representation agreement or with the terms of the fee agreement?
Use the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
This handy law directory can be found at any local law or public library, or online at Martindale.com. The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory is an excellent source of information about individual attorneys as well as the law firms they work for This guide is even used by other attorneys in the event that they need to find or recommend an attorney from another state. The directory contains fundamental profile data on the practices of almost every single attorney in the United States and in Canada. It also includes complete professional biographies for the leading attorneys and leading firms in 160 different countries. It also includes attorney and law firm rankings that are based on independent peer reviews. All of this is information that is extremely useful when trying to narrow down your list of possible candidates.
Speak With Other Attorneys
Attorneys talk amongst themselves. Attorneys are familiar with the abilities and reputations of other attorneys. They should be able to contribute additional information regarding another attorney that you might not be able to look up online or in a book, like information about a particular attorney’s demeanor, ethics, practice habits, competence level, and overall reputation.
Do Background Checks
Just as you would do for a nanny or a housekeeper, you want to run a background check on the attorney that you are considering giving your business to. You can easily do this by contacting your state-specific attorney disciplinary agency in order to confirm that the attorney is in fact in good standing as a member of the bar association. You can find the listing of each state’s lawyer disciplinary agency online for your perusal under the Directory of Lawyer Disciplinary Agencies.
If you happened to find your attorney via the Internet alone, it is particularly important that you check out their references. You can even look up an attorney’s peer review ratings online. This information can be found on the same site as the directory. Peer review ratings are essentially grades that are assigned to attorneys by other attorneys. These ratings address the ethical standards and professional ability of a given attorney and can provide an objective viewpoint you would not otherwise have. These ratings are put together based on evaluations by other members of the bar, as well as the judiciary in the United States and in Canada.
Take a Tour of the Offices
An attorney’s individual workspace can give you lots of clues as to their personality and their work ethic. Ask if you may have a short tour of his office, not just the room that your free consultation was conducted in.
Look around and see if the office is tidy, efficient, orderly, and well-run? What, if any, sort of support staffers does this attorney have on his payroll? Do they seem to be helpful and friendly? Is the office in a location that is feasible for you to visit from time to time, like nearby your home or your work? Beware if you see that a big chunk of the office space is unoccupied and keep an eye out for other red flags, such as big messes, empty offices, and unhappy workers.
If you or someone that you love has been injured and is currently seeking out legal representation then following these basic steps can help you to ensure that you get the attorney that is the best fit for you and your particular situation. The personal injury attorneys here at Siegfried & Jensen have over thirty years worth of experience in helping victims recover from life-changing auto accidents and making sure that they collect the maximum amount of financial compensation for their losses.
Our clients are our family and we always do our best to get what is best for you. If you would be interested in a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys regarding your case, then please reach out to us by calling 801-845-9000 today.