Finding the Right Lawyer
Once you have determined that you should speak with an attorney about a legal issue, another question immediately arises. Who? How can you find the best lawyer for my case?
Recently, I friend of mine asked me to recommend an estate planning lawyer in California. I don't know estate planning lawyers in California. I was forced to think about it from your point of view. This is the approach that I suggested for my friend.
How Can I Find the Best Lawyer for my Case?
The Google Search
First, I would do some research on Google. Let's say I would like to speak with an attorney about an injury claim arising from an auto accident. I might search the terms "auto accident", "injury", and "lawyer".
Add Geographic Information to Your Search
That search might give me candidates from New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. I might then add a geographic limitation. If my claim arose in southeastern North Carolina, I might add "Wilmington NC" rather than the name of the nearest smaller town. Those search criteria should produce a list of candidates.
What is Next?
Once I had a list of candidate, I would want to know three things: 1. What do other lawyers say about the lawyer? 2. What do former clients say about the lawyer? 3. How do I feel about the lawyer?
1. What do other lawyers say about the lawyer?
How can you find out about a particular lawyer's reputation among those who practice law and know good lawyers from bad lawyers?
Door to Door
You could go knock on the doors of twenty lawyers and ask. That would take too long. In addition, the results might not be reliable. Does the lawyer you are asking know the lawyer you are considering? Is the lawyer likely to give you accurate information that benefits you or simply refer you to his friend.
Try Avvo.com. Avvo is a national independent service that gathers information about all licensed lawyers. The information gathered includes the lawyer's reputation in the legal community, experience in a particular field of law, and record for ethical conduct. Based upon this information Avvo rates the lawyer on a scale of 1 - 10.
I would look for an Avvo rating of 9.0 or higher (10.0 is the maximum possible rating). Our Avvo rating is "10". Our Avvo badge is located on the home page of this site and below in the grey box. In addition and for consecutive years, we have been identified as Superlawyers by Thomson Reuters and selected to the Top 100 Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
2. What do former clients say about the lawyer?
I would look to see what this lawyer’s clients say about the service they received. Did they feel like he or she was knowledgable? Did they feel like he was responsive? Did they feel like he did a good job for them? Were they happy with the service they received? Did they feel like they were treated fairly and with courtesy and respect?
You can find client testimonials describing the experiences that our clients have had with our firm on Google, Avvo, and on this site under the Testimonials tab at the top of the home page.
3. How do I feel about the lawyer?
I would always have a consultation with a lawyer before I retained him or her. I would write down questions in advance of the consultation. During the consultation, I would ask questions. I would listen carefully to the answers.
Beware the Big Talker
It is illegal and unethical for a lawyer to promise results in a case. If your lawyer makes lofty guarantees about the results in your case, he is violating important ethical principles and the law. If he will break those rules, will he break other rules that are in place for your protection?
In addition, each case requires investigation, research and careful analysis. How can he guarantee a result unless he has done these things? Great lawyers under promise and over deliver. They make conservative estimates and careful predictions because they know that people depend on what they say.
After that meeting I would consider three things. 1. Does he know this specific area of the law? 2. Do I feel like I can trust him? 3. Do I feel like he can help me?
The Best Lawyer for my Case
At the conclusion of the consultation, I would feel like I had enough information to decide if this lawyer was the best lawyer for my case. To set up your phone or face-to-face consultation, please call (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233.