Choosing a lawyer to handle your case, especially after an accident, can be a daunting task if you don’t know the basics. The legal system is intricate and requires someone who knows all the specialized rules and practices. Here are tips on how to get the right lawyer.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask your friends, colleagues and family members who have an experience with a personal injury lawyer for a recommendation. Someone who had a positive experience with his lawyer will be more than willing to give you a referral. Make sure you get recommendations from people you trust.
Consider someone who is experienced at what he does. If it personal injury, you want someone who knows how to investigate an accident and help you file for a claim. An experienced attorney has an intuitive understanding of the legal processes. He knows how to handle cases at the district or federal courts. An experienced lawyer also knows what to look for in a case and where to look for it. Hiring someone who do not have experience may mean that you are taking a chance you will regret. Make sure the person you hire have at least five years of experience.
An individual in the United States cannot practice law without meeting the professional requirements. He must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university and pass exams administered by a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. After law school, the person should pass a state bar exam to legally practice in a given state. He must also pass character and fitness reviews and take an oath of practice. You might want to make sure the lawyer you choose has a license that shows that he has completed all the requirements stated above.
Do some research
You need to do some background check on a prospective lawyer before you make your final decision. Check online review platforms to determine what people are saying about the lawyer. Contact the local American Bar Association offices or other disciplinary agencies to confirm if the prospective lawyer is in good standing as a member. If you located the attorney through the internet, be sure to check the references so that you don’t go to the wrong disciplinary agency. Another alternative is to check the lawyer’s peer review ratings online. Peer review ratings highlight the lawyer’s ethical standards and professionalism. These ratings are generated by other members of the bar and the judiciary.
Use local directories
There are several local directories that can help you get a qualified lawyer. These directories have information about the law firm and its lawyers. The information includes basic practice profile data of every lawyer in the state and their detailed professional biographies. It also includes the lawyer’s or the law firm’s ratings based on peer reviews. You can try out Martindale.com or the American Bar Association’s website for good leads.
You need to identify at least three lawyers you think are most suited for the job and schedule interviews with each one of them. You can either go to the lawyer’s office or make a phone call. The interview will give you the best opportunity to assess the lawyer’s legal ability. Take this chance to ask the lawyer questions relevant to your case. Ask about the experience the lawyer has in your situation, how long he has been in practice and the number of cases he has successfully taken to trial. You may also want to know the approach the lawyer will take to handle your case and whether he will inform you of any development.
Do not forget to ask for references during the interview. Take time and talk with the references to get their side of the story. Ask them about their overall experience with the lawyer in question. Let them give you an honest opinion about the lawyer, including their disappointments and satisfactions.
Make a Decision
Carefully analyze the facts you have on the lawyer to see if he is worth your time and money. Ask yourself whether the lawyer’s level of experience and background match your legal needs. Think about how the lawyer handled your questions during the interview and whether he provided prompt and courteous responses to your answers. Consider whether he is someone you would be comfortable working with. Weigh all these factors and make the right decision.