December 19, 2011
Finding the Right Attorney

Finding the Right Attorney

How do you find the right lawyer in your injury case? My advice: do not just call the first lawyer in an ad that you see.

All attorneys market themselves, some more than others. The best-known lawyers in your area will be the ones with well-planned marketing campaigns. They will have television and radio commercials, billboard ads, catchy jingles, and a myriad of ways of making sure you remember their name.

These may be great lawyers. But, they may not. The quality of advertising doesn’t always correlate with an attorney’s quality of representation. Do your research before calling. Is this how you would choose your surgeon?

Ask around. Ask your doctor who they would recommend. Call a lawyer who you know does not handle injury cases. See who he or she would recommend. Research the injury lawyer’s experience and background on the internet.

Many lawyers will tout that they accept personal injury cases, but that does not mean that all lawyers are personal injury specialists. Technically, lawyers are not supposed to call themselves “specialists” (although some states do recognize certain specialty fields). However, there are lawyers who make an entire practice of injury litigation. If you have been injured, these are the attorneys you need to look for.

Make sure your lawyer is a trial lawyer. For some reason, this name has become politicized. Regardless, my experience is that few lawyers can, or will, actually try a personal injury case before a jury. You need to ask: “Have you tried a personal injury case to a jury?” “How many times?” You do not want to find out two days before trial that this is the first time for your lawyer. (You would be surprised that even lawyers with twenty years of experience have never tried a civil trial to a jury.)

You may need a further specialized lawyer. If your claim is a standard personal injury claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer will suffice; however, if you have received a workplace injury or an injury through medical negligence, then you should look into finding either a worker’s compensation lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer.

Finally, you want an attorney that can devote sufficient time to your case and, if necessary, take your case to court. Good lawyers work on many cases at once and are used to handling the fast-paced nature of their occupation. That said, if your lawyer is completely bogged down with open cases, he or she may not be able to devote as much attention to your case as is necessary. Ask.