Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the finer points of your case, you’re ready to select a lawyer. This can be intimidating, of course, because you want to be sure you end up with the right representation to help you make the most of your case. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to narrow the field and select the perfect person for you.
There are numerous business to choosing a local attorney to work with. One of the most obvious is that their office will be nearby and they will therefore be more accessible to you throughout your case. But this is far from the most important benefit. Much more valuable is the fact that a local attorney spends all of his or her time working within the local court system. They know the principal players, such as defense attorneys and judges, from years of experience. They know how to work with the existing system to help you get what you need. By choosing a local attorney, in other words, you’re selecting a person familiar with the local court system, and that gives you a great advantage going in.
At your first meeting with a potential attorney, you have the opportunity to ask all the questions you want. Come prepared for this. Here are a few of the questions you should ask:
Don’t just take your attorney’s word for it that they’re the best choice for you. If they’ve been successful in the past, they will have satisfied clients who can attest to that fact. Check their website for a section featuring testimonials. You should be looking for two things—overall client satisfaction and satisfied clients in cases similar to your own.
If you’re not able to find any testimonials on the website, ask your attorney directly to provide them. If none are available, that’s a red flag.
Independent research is especially valuable when you’re working with somebody local, because there’s always the possibility someone you know has worked with that person before. Ask around. Put the word out to friends, family, and colleagues that you’re hiring a personal injury attorney. Maybe someone you know can recommend an attorney who helped them get a big settlement or provided a quality personal touch. Or, on the flipside, maybe someone you know has had a bad experience with a local attorney and can warn you away. Take advantage of all potential information sources—the last thing you want is to find out too late. After all, you only have one chance to try your case.
We’ve discussed at some length how important it is to ensure that the attorney you hire is familiar with cases like yours. But how can you be sure you’re satisfied with their history and that they have enough experience to provide you confidence? The answer is to look at their history of verdicts. If the case went to trial, this is a matter of public record, so you can access the information. Many attorneys will also provide a record of their verdicts as a sort of resume for potential new clients. Ask your attorney to show you verdicts similar to your own case, and consider exploring the local law library to find out how cases like yours are generally resolved in your area.