There is a good chance that everyone, at some point or another, will need to hire a lawyer. Divorces, car accidents, bad business deals, and other unfortunate events necessitate talking to a lawyer. There are lots of lawyers out there, and picking a lawyer can be a very daunting task. However, in one’s time of need there are few things as important as finding the right lawyer. And the difference between the right lawyer and the “almost” right lawyer can be, to twist the words of Mark twain, “the same as the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.”
The problem is that so many lawyers claim to be lightening. That is, they use certain words in their promotions and advertisements that are designed to make them greater or more effective than they actually are. These promotions are specifically designed to do two things. First, they are designed to prey upon the weakness of the injured or needy. Second, they are designed to skirt the rules of professional conduct that specifically prohibit this sort of charlatan self-promotion.
Specifically, Rule 4-7.2 (b) of the Florida Rules of Professional conduct provides in pertinent part, “A lawyer shall not make or permit to be made a false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.” It lists a number of things that would be inviolate of this rule. One of the things listed, is if an advertisement “contains any reference… that is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve.”
However, this is exactly what lawyers are doing when they have billboard signs that advocate themselves as “aggressive,” “tenacious,” “passionate,” and “caring.” Or any other word that might indicate the same. Also, arguably, lawyers are violating this rule when they showcases pictures of themselves in trial settings- yet they have never tried a single case. Such behavior is stain on the legal profession, and it is exactly why many people have bad impressions of lawyers generally.
So what can you do to weed through the fields of lawyer advertisements? The simple answer is: don’t use them. However, here is a more detailed list of five (5) things to do and five (5) things not to do when looking for a lawyer.
- Determine what type of lawyer you need. Many firms specialize. So if you have a family legal issue, its best to find a lawyer or firm that practices family law. Similarly, if you have been injured in a car accident, it is best to find a lawyer that specializes in personal injury.
- Gather References. There is a good chance your friends and family members have had to hire a lawyer in the best. Talk to them. Consider the lawyers they had good experiences with. Give less consideration to those attorneys that they had bad experiences with.
- Research. The internet is a powerful tool. Looks for lawyer results and testimonials. These can provide invaluable tools to picking the best lawyer for your case. Carefully research whether the attorney has received or attained recognition/awards for their results. Also, pay close attention to the reviews that former clients and colleagues have provided on sites such as AVVO, Google, superpages, and others.
- Make an appointment. Set aside a time to talk to the lawyers that you have researched. Get a feel for them, but don’t let them push you over.
- Ask questions. The person or firm that represents you needs to be knowledgeable, able, and have your best interest at heart. Vet them by asking questions that are important to you.
- Make your decision based on Television Advertisements. TV ads are meant to sell you a product, not necessarily to inform you in your decision on which lawyer is best for you.
- Make your decision based on radio advertisements.
- Make your decision based upon phone book advertisements.
- Pick good looks over proven results. Many law firms want to sell you a pretty face with a nice smile. Effective is more important than anything else.
- Let them push you over. You hire the lawyer. Ultimately, you are their boss. So when you are choosing a lawyer, don’t let them push you over into signing anything.
- Avoid the big volume shops. At many of the largest firms, you may not receive the personal attention you deserve. We commonly hear individuals complain that they never met nor spoke with their attorney at a number of the biggest advertising law firms. It is essential that your relationship is with the attorney as opposed to a Paralegal or Case Manager.
If you are in search of a personal injury lawyer, we humbly recommend that you consider our firm. The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a recognized personal injury law firm in Clearwater that focuses only on plaintiff work. However, for a more thorough knowledge of how we can help you, please review our practice areas. Initial consultations are free and confidential. Please call us today at 727-451-6900.