Here are some tips:
- A referral from a friend or family member who has already been represented by the attorney and has been highly satisfied with the result is a great source of information.
- The local Bar Association in your region probably has a lawyer referral service. The lawyers on their list are members in good standing with that local Bar Association or they would not be on the list. Note that the lawyers who have signed up have paid a fee to be listed in certain specialties and that their names come up on a regular, rotating basis. This is another source for an initial appointment, but does not guarantee that the person you are contacting has substantial experience in accident-related injury work. If you take this route, bring the questions that we talk about here to the interview to make sure that the lawyer has the experience you need and will address all your concerns.
- A referral from an attorney that you know will probably help you to find someone who does specialize in your area of need. If you don't know anyone, go to www.lawyers.com. Make sure you realize that Lawyers.com is a service for which lawyers pay to be listed, similar to the Yellow Pages. Attorneys pay a fairly high fee to the company which started Lawyers.com to advertise there, but at least you can get some information on the lawyer's area of expertise and number of years in law practice.
- The Yellow Pages can be a good starting point. You must understand three things before using them. First, not everyone advertises in the Yellow Pages. Most of our cases come from satisfied clients or other attorneys. Second, note whether the ad you are looking at lists too many different specialties. No one can do everything well. Third, be skeptical of full page ads. This advertising typically attracts a lot of cases, including the small cases that we do not accept. Make sure that the attorney you hire is selective enough that your important case does not become just one file in the pile. You also can be lured in by a large ad to a firm which is “an accident mill.” After you have signed up with an accident mill firm, your case may be passed off to a less experienced attorney or paralegal. Make sure that the attorney you think is going to handle your case will be the attorney who actually handles it.
- Ask each attorney if he has information similar to this blog and/or a website so that you can find out more about his or her qualifications, experience and approach to handling a case before you walk in the door.