Hiring an Attorney: Tips On Getting the Best Lawyer For Your Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, or Workers’ Compensation Case
Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 3:58 pm
If you’ve never worked with an attorney before, it can be intimidating to pick up the phone and call. As a layman, there’s no good way to compare one attorney’s services to another because each client’s case is unique and many variables (such as the random selection of a jury) can make similar approaches in similar cases yield wildly different results. Thus, choosing an attorney can feel like taking a complete shot in the dark. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you are choosing the attorney that is right for your unique situation.
See What the Bar Association Has to Say
In Kentucky, all attorneys are required to be members of the Kentucky Bar Association in order to practice law. Not all states have this requirement, but even states that lack it generally have local or regional bar associations. Attorney reprimands and disciplinary actions are matters of public record. Has the attorney you are interested in hiring ever had a bar complaint, or been reprimanded? Contact the Bar Association to find this out!
See What the Attorney’s Former Clients Have to Say
Confirming that your attorney has no black marks on his or her record only confirms competence. What about excellence? The internet is a referendum of public opinion on law firms just like other professions and business. While my experience has been that law firms typically have fewer online reviews than comparably sized businesses, reviews do still exist. Check out Avvo.com, which should have a profile on your attorney complete with peer endorsements and client reviews. Yellowpages.com and the various search engines’ local business listings are also good sources of information.
See What the Attorney Has to Say
Call the attorney and ask for a free consultation. Most attorneys will give one, depending on the area of practice. In personal injury, workers’ compensation, or bankruptcy, a free consultation is almost guaranteed. In other fields, like family law, you can usually get one but not always. Use the free consultation to gauge the attorney’s confidence and the depth of his or her knowledge. You should also feel free to bring up whatever concerns you have to the attorney and expect an answer that satisfies your concerns. If the attorney can’t give you that, you might want to keep looking.
See What Your Gut Has to Say
You’re an adult with plenty of experience in meeting new people and sizing them up. If you’re reading this article to prepare for a first meeting with an attorney, odds are you have a lot of common sense. Don’t leave that common sense at the attorney’s front door. If the attorney seems honest and feels like someone you can work with, use him or her. If not, move on. There are plenty of us out there.
Just like everyone else, attorneys have good days and bad days. Those of us that have been doing our jobs for a long time are sometimes guilty of going too fast and assuming new clients are more familiar with what we are saying than they really are. Occasionally, even the most seasoned attorney will get a curveball question during a consultation and have to say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to look that up for you.” But good attorneys are polite on their bad days, take the time with their clients to explain things fully, and follow up their “I don’t know” with “I’ve got that answer for you.”
If you’re looking for a lawyer in Kentucky or Ohio, Lawrence & Associates has a long record of success in personal injury, bankruptcy, and workers’ comp cases.