Most of us have watched enough TV to know that not all attorneys are created equal. If you are considering hiring a lawyer or seeking help from a law firm, you may be wondering how you can avoid unknowingly choosing a lemon. What are the signs of an excellent law firm? How can you recognize a good law firm when you find one?
If you are considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, you are likely carrying a heightened burden of stress from your injury. Finding a good law firm will allow you to move forward with conviction, shifting some of this burden onto the shoulders of trained professionals. We’ve outlined 5 tips for choosing a good law firm which can help you choose with confidence.
1. No Fee Unless We Win
Is “no fee unless we win” a legal gimmick? Do good law firms do business this way?
Absolutely. Look for a law firm that works on a contingency fee basis, which means that there will be no cost unless the firm wins or settles the case and receives compensation for you. You will then pay a percentage of that compensation to your legal team for their time and expertise.
At Tingey Injury Law Firm, our accident injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not agree to take your case unless we have determined in advance that it has merit. If our estimation is wrong, and you don’t win the case, then you don’t owe us anything.
The confidence and experience needed to identify cases with merit are signs of a good law firm. A less-trustworthy law firm might string you along, milking you for charges along the way.
2. Think Local
A local law firm will offer you the most advantages in a personal injury suit. Attorneys who are at-home in your region will have a firm grasp of local laws and procedures. They will know the personalities of the local judicial authorities and have experience navigating the nuances of the local system. They can visit the site of your injury and will be able to speak to the geographic context of your unique situation. In addition, you will be able to meet with your attorney face-to-face instead of simply communicating by telephone and email.
A good, local law firm doesn’t need to be within walking distance. For example, if you live in the Las Vegas area, a good local law firm would be able to manage cases in Summerlin as competently as cases in Henderson. However, hiring a national law firm headquartered in another city or even another state would not be to your advantage in a personal injury suit.
3. The 24-Hour Rule
Most legal processes take months or years. You want a legal team that will take away your burden – not add to it – during this long and important process. It’s not worth hiring a brilliant attorney if you are treated rudely, if the firm’s website is confusing, or if your questions are not answered in a way that makes sense to you. A good law firm will retain intelligent and experienced attorneys and ensure a well-run, client-focused office. You will be treated in a pleasant and supportive manner. Returning phone calls and emails within 24-hours is not just polite, it’s professional. You want a law firm that is responsive to your queries and proactive in advancing your case.
4. Free Initial Consultation
A good law firm will provide some type of initial consultation free of charge. The law firm uses this initial consultation to review your case and educate you about your options. You can use the initial consultation to decide whether you trust the law firm and want to continue working with them.
Questions to ask when interviewing a law firm include how many cases like yours the firm has handled in the last couple of years and how long you can expect before your case resolves. Ask about the firm’s stance toward settling cases out of court, otherwise known as alternative dispute resolution, mediation, or arbitration. Lawyers may have strong opinions about which types of out-of-court negotiations are most effective, but you should hesitate to retain a lawyer who doesn’t believe in alternative dispute resolution at all.
Attorneys and legal firms have many different styles and approaches to clients. You should feel that your style, personality, and perspective are reflected in your attorney’s for a good fit. In addition, a good law firm will be able to provide a list of previous clients that are willing to act as references.
5. Check Ratings
One online resource for evaluating a lawyer’s reputation is the Martindale-Hubbel rating. The website tracks individual attorneys as well as law firms as a whole. The reviews are created by other lawyers rather than by clients. Other lawyers are not likely to be distracted or swayed by a swanky office or a flashy infomercial. The Martindale-Hubbel ratings track both the professional efficiency and the ethical standards of attorneys and their associated firms.
To see clients’ feedback, check other popular online rating sites. You might see some negative reviews by disgruntled clients, but if the general trend is positive, this is a good indicator that you will have a positive experience as well.
With these five tips in hand, you will be well on your way to finding a suitable and trustworthy legal team. Finding an experienced personal injury lawyer will relieve you of unnecessary stress at a critical time. Taking the suggestions above will allow you to take the first steps toward turning over your legal problems to licensed and trained professionals in the industry. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our accident lawyers or wrongful death attorneys.