Legal Lessons Week 5 - What Should I Look for In an Attorney?
Answers to Your Personal Injury Questions
Dear Attorney Norton,
I need an attorney to help me with an automobile accident that someone else caused. What should I look for in a lawyer?
- Looking for a Lawyer
Dear Looking for a Lawyer,
Experience and expertise are important. You should find a lawyer that has handles personal injury cases. I would avoid the law firms that handle too many areas of the law. For example, some law firms represent clients on divorce, criminal matters, collections, bankruptcy, immigration, and personal injury. While some lawyers try to know everything, it is almost impossible for one person to know everything necessary about all areas of the law.
You should also look for a lawyer that is available to you and that you like. If you do not like your own attorney, how can you expect insurance adjusters, judges, or possibly juries to like him or her? One of the biggest complaints about lawyers is that they are never available to talk to their clients. In fact, some of the larger law firms do not even have your first meeting with an attorney. Rather, they have you meet with a case manager or "salesperson" sent to sign you up. If you are not able to meet with an attorney or reach your attorney on the phone, there is a problem. Ask your attorney for his personal cell phone number and see what happens.
Finally, you want to find a lawyer that will meet with you for free and evaluate your case without charge. Some lawyers want money up front to help pay for the costs expended on your case. Our law firm, and many others, do not require payment upfront for costs, and attorney's fees are based on a percentage of any recovery you receive. Therefore, you should not owe a personal injury attorney anything until after your case has been settled.
You may submit your questions, or talk to an attorney, free of charge, by e-mail at email@example.com.