The legal world can be intimidating, particularly when it is your first time hiring an attorney. One of our New Year’s Resolutions at Brooks LeBoeuf is to help those who are interested gain a better understanding of the legal field. We will do this by answering common questions about the legal practice. Our goal in this series is to equip our readers with the information they need to step out in confidence if there ever comes a time when they need assistance from an attorney.
Choices are something that we often enjoy. However, too many choices can be overwhelming. This can be the case when selecting the right attorney for your situation. Whether you are watching television, driving, or on the internet, advertisements for law firms are everywhere. With so many attorneys and firms to choose from, how can you make the right choice?
As attorneys we know that finding the right legal expert for your circumstance is incredibly important. As a result, we wanted to take the time to provide some tips on how to narrow down your search and find the best attorney for your case:
- Advertising: Marketing is a powerful tool that can connect the right people to the right professional; however, it will not provide everything you need to make an informed decision on hiring an attorney. Advertisements cannot give you a feel for how the attorney is in real life, how pleased their clients are with their performance, and how knowledgeable they are in their areas of practice. Though ads can be helpful, don’t solely base your hiring decision on them.
- Specialization: Would you go to the dentist if you need to have heart surgery? Of course not! You would go to a specialized heart surgeon who would be able to get you the help you need. The same goes for an attorney. Under the umbrella of legal practice, there are a variety of specializations. For example, if you are a victim of medical malpractice, you would want to find an attorney who specializes in that area of law. Similarly, if you need a divorce, you should hire a lawyer who specializes in family law, not a medical malpractice attorney.
- Experience: Specialization and experience go hand in hand. Seeking out a specific specialization can help narrow down the list of attorneys and allow you to begin examining experience. Sites such as AVVO and Lawyer.com are convenient ways to see the education, experience, awards, and engagements of attorneys in your needed specialization. Another way to determine if an attorney is knowledgeable is to examine how they are contributing to their areas of expertise through publications, education, or speaking engagements.
- Reputation: Another key aspect of your search for legal representation is reputation. An attorney can make lofty promises on television ads and have an incredible bio on their website but not be a capable attorney. No one will reveal an attorney’s true nature like their past clients. Take the time to read reviews and listen to the stories of clients. Also keep an eye out for achievements that are given to attorneys through peer review such as Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating. These ratings are given out to attorneys whose ethical standards and legal ability have been rated by their peers in a specific area. To learn more about the Martindale-Hubbell rating system Click Here. Though there are many reputable awards, be careful. Some are purchased by lawyers, not earned!
- Compatibility: Just like any other relationship, it is important that you and your attorney are compatible. See how you feel after your free consultation. Do you feel that they care about you and your case? You need to be able to trust your attorney and feel comfortable with them representing you. You will be corresponding and meeting through every stage of your case. No matter how seasoned the attorney is, if you do not feel that you will get along, it may be prudent to seek out a different attorney.
We understand that it can be overwhelming when you need an attorney’s services. There are many decisions that must be made, but these decisions are important, nonetheless. We encourage you to take the time to do the research that will help you make an informed choice.
Our managing partner, Dean R. LeBoeuf, was a guest on the YouTube channel The Answers That Count hosted by Charles Musgrove where he expands on the topics that we discussed in this blog post. To watch this video, Click Here.
At Brooks LeBoeuf, we have a team of experienced attorneys that are here to help you when there is Too Much At Stake to go with anyone else. To learn more about our attorneys Click Here. To read more of our blog posts Click Here.