Choosing the right lawyer can make a huge difference when you have a legal concern that you need to address. The right lawyer can substantially improve your financial outcomes and decrease your stress levels as you manage your case. Finding the right lawyer, however, can cause an immense challenge, especially if you do not know anyone who can recommend a great lawyer to you.
How can you find the best lawyer for your needs?
1. Start by Narrowing Down the Type of Lawyer You Need.
Different lawyers specialize in different areas of the law. You do not want a family lawyer handling your personal injury claim, nor do you want a personal injury attorney handling a criminal claim. When you search online for “lawyers near me,” make sure you narrow it down by the specific type of law you need your attorney to practice.
By choosing an attorney who specializes in the area of law you need, you get an attorney who knows the law as it pertains to your situation, has some familiarity with local court systems and regulations, and can offer specialized expertise in those specific areas of the law. In many cases, this can provide you with deeper insights into your case that can help you make better overall decisions.
2. Do a Basic Search for Lawyers in Your Area.
You can use several strategies to find a lawyer in your local area. A Google search for lawyers who specialize in the type of law you need can help you find some of the top-rated lawyers in your state. You may also want to use sites like Avvo or Super Lawyers, which will allow you to easily search for high-rated attorneys in your local area. Those searches can help you narrow down the top-rated attorneys in the field you need, providing you with critical information about who to contact.
If you have friends and family members who have needed legal services in the same field you now find yourself needing advice in, contact those friends and family members and ask them for a recommendation. If they do not recommend the attorney they used, that can tell you something about the attorney, too.
3. Check Out Reviews and Testimonials.
Reviews and testimonials can tell you a great deal about the attorney, how they practice, and what other clients have thought of them.
You can find reviews:
- On the lawyer’s social media page
- On the Google business page for the firm
- On the lawyer’s website
Keep in mind that reviews on the law firm’s website will usually represent only the best comments their clients leave. Attorneys, like other businesses, want to put their best foot forward with their reviews and help you decide in favor of their firm. Reviews on social media or the Google My Business page, on the other hand, may include reviews from disgruntled people on the other side of the spectrum regarding the attorney in question. Make sure you read reviews with care and with an eye to bias as you determine whether an attorney will offer the best fit for you.
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4. Check Out the Attorney’s Experience.
Experience matters when it comes to legal issues. You want an attorney that has experience in your local area, with the specific area of law you need. When possible, you may want to take a look at cases the attorney has dealt with in the past that look very similar to your case. The attorney’s website may contain a specific results section where you can go over the area of law the attorney practices and how that attorney’s experience may play into your case.
- Decide What Matters Most to You as You Choose an Attorney.
Different people have different priorities when the time comes to choose an attorney who can help them navigate the case in front of them. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a construction site accident, for example, you might want to prioritize an attorney that you know will take the time to discuss the claim with you, keep you updated, and make sure that you understand your rights and the progression of your case every step of the way.
On the other hand, you might want to prioritize an attorney who will represent you aggressively, pushing to maximize the compensation you deserve for your injuries. By knowing your priorities ahead of time, you can better choose the attorney that will represent the best fit for your case.
6. Schedule a Free Consultation With the Lawyers at the Top of Your List.
Most personal injury lawyers will typically start with a free consultation to go over your claim, help you understand your rights, and give you a brief overview of what you might expect as you proceed through your claim. A free consultation offers two key benefits. First, it gives the lawyer a chance to go over your case and see if you have a good chance of fitting well with the firm. Second, it allows you to determine whether you want to work with a specific attorney or firm.
During your free consultation, ask the right questions to get a better idea of whether the attorney will offer the fit you need.
Who will actually handle your case?
Sometimes, you will have your consultation with the lawyer who will actually handle your case. Other times, you will find that junior members of the firm will most often handle the case, with the partner lawyers coming in for big cases or when you have a more complicated issue to deal with. You want to have confidence in the attorney handling your case, so you may want to check to determine who will actually handle the claim before you move forward.
What workload does the law firm currently have?
You want to choose a law firm that others have shown their confidence in, but you also do not want a law firm where all the employees suffer from overwork and have too little time to focus on your case. Talk to the lawyer about the firm’s current caseload and how it may impact the firm’s ability to deal with your case effectively.
How does the lawyer who will deal with your case prefer to communicate?
Your preferred communication style may depend on your specific needs. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, or have faced cognitive defects because of PTSD, you may prefer to have all communication written down whenever possible so that you can easily refer back to it later. On the other hand, if you prefer to have an audible conversation, you may prefer face-to-face meetings or phone calls to help you keep up with your case. Discuss the lawyer’s preferred communication style and how it will adapt to fit your needs.
What does the lawyer think the outcome of your case will look like?
When you need to file a personal injury claim, you need an attorney that will help you achieve the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. That does not necessarily mean, however, that you should choose the attorney who offers you the highest estimate for the compensation you should receive.
If one attorney clearly offers more compensation than the others on your list, you may want to consider why that attorney’s idea of the compensation you deserve looks so different, including whether that attorney might have artificially inflated that compensation to get you to choose them. Instead, choose an attorney who can justify the compensation they think you deserve.
How often does the lawyer have to take cases to court?
Most personal injury claims settle out of court. Going to court can increase the legal fees faced by the other side’s insurance company or by the liable party in your case, which means that most insurance companies will try to settle out of court whenever possible. Not only that, going to court may extend the time needed to handle your claim, which could result in you struggling with your other bills while dealing with your personal injury claim.
In general, look for an attorney who can achieve a satisfactory resolution through negotiation whenever possible. However, you do not want an attorney who fears going to court if the court battle will help you get the full compensation you deserve. Ask the attorney under what circumstances they will take a claim to court and how that may impact your personal injury claim.
What fees does the lawyer charge?
Look for a lawyer who will lay out the fees you will have to pay upfront. In the case of personal injury claims, many lawyers will take cases on a contingent fee basis. Instead of paying upfront for your legal services, you would pay your lawyer out of a percentage of your personal injury claim.
This simple strategy can make it much easier for many people who have suffered severe injuries due to the negligence of another party to pay their bills and afford the legal support they need. However, make sure you fully understand the fees your attorney will collect: what percentage of your claim the lawyer expects, how the lawyer will collect, and any additional fees that may apply to your claim. If the attorney cannot offer you a clear breakdown or insists that you can “talk about that later,” you may need to take a look at a different attorney.
Do you feel comfortable working with this attorney?
In the end, the right personal injury attorney for you may come down to whether you feel comfortable working with a specific attorney. Do you feel that the attorney takes your concerns seriously, addresses you respectfully, and makes you feel comfortable? If you do not feel comfortable with an attorney, you may not want to trust that attorney during this difficult period in your life. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable with your attorney, that comfort level may make it much easier to proceed through your claim confidently.
7. Talk to the Attorney’s Past Clients.
In many cases, an attorney will, if you ask, put you in contact with clients who have used them in the past and will serve as a reference. Talking to someone who has worked with the attorney in the past can provide you with a better picture of what it might look like to work with that attorney.
Ask about how that individual felt working with the attorney. Did the attorney hear their concerns and address them quickly? Did the client ever feel pressured or rushed, like the attorney did not want to take time to deal with them? Did they feel confident in the outcome of their claim and the way the attorney handled all interactions? By getting the answers to those questions, you may feel much more confident moving forward with a specific attorney.
Choosing the right attorney offers you a great deal of confidence regarding your case. Contact a personal injury attorney today to get started.