What to consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer (II)
In a previous article, we touched on a rather important issue: the process of selecting a personal injury attorney. In the aforementioned text, we explained the current situation regarding the hiring of these professionals: most people have not done so in accordance with the recommended parameters. The end result, quite predictably, is that a large proportion of the population has not been properly served by some of our colleagues.
We are not satisfied with criticism and just pointing this out. That is why, we mention the virtues that should be present in any personal injury lawyer. Next, we focused on the criteria that govern (or should govern) the selection of the legal professional. As a third point, we talked a little bit about personal references and why they are more reliable than reputation per se.
Now, in this second post, we will explain the remaining 4 stages of the inquiry process of the candidates.
4) Collect information about candidates on Google
(The enumeration of this article begins in 4 because it is the continuation or sequel to our previous article).
The fourth stage in the inquiry process of your future legal representative is collecting information about that candidate on Google. You should be aware that there is a possibility that there is no data on Google about that lawyer or that you simply won’t get adequate information to form a substantiated opinion.
After all, Google is nothing more than a tool at your disposal, so it’s not essential. However, it is a helpful resource in the process of choosing your personal injury attorney. Try to get candidate information on Google. It is recommended that you link Google search with other research methods: it increases the chances of achieving your goal.
What should you take into account when doing a Google search? The best recommendation in this matter is the use of keywords. The use of keywords is helpful for Google to provide all the results related to the lawyer. For example, if the lawyer is called “Luis Lopez”, you should put something like this in the Google search engine: “Luis Lopez personal injury lawyer California” or “Luis Lopez personal accidents” or the simplest of all: “Luis Lopez lawyer”.
In the example we have used, the name is not helpful because it is very common, so there may be thousands of lawyers named Luis Lopez. That’s why you should also specify: California personal injury lawyer. Now, if the lawyer doesn’t have a common name, then you can easily know whether there is information about that lawyer on Google or not.
The lawyer may be working for a law firm and only some of his personal details appear, but little more. In these cases, you should place the magnifying glass in the law firm and analyze aspects such as exercise time, creation date, case statistics, reputation, etc. In short, all the parameters we talked about in the last article.
5) Use specialized web services
We said that Google isn’t the only tool you can use, so you’re wondering what others are. Well, one of them is to use web services specialized in promoting lawyers with more expertise in the area and region where you live. However, you must carefully investigate the web service you are going to use, since a large number of them are merely advertising pages; that is, pages that promote only those lawyers who offer them large amounts of money.
Lawyers.com: No doubt lawyers.com is one of the best web services in this matter. When you enter the page, you only need to enter in the search engine the details of the lawyer you are looking for (see, if you require a personal injury attorney or a divorce lawyer, for example) and the city/state where you require the lawyer (you will obviously not hire a Louisiana lawyer, for example, to handle a New York case). Once the page processes that data, it will show all the attorneys who match your requirements, along with their valuable data, such as reputation, rankings, phone numbers or other contact details, website, among others. It is essential that you review all of this information, but place the magnifying glass on references, reputation or rankings, as it shows the qualification that other people have made of that lawyer.
Didn’t lawyers.com convince you? Want to try other web services? Don’t worry: take a look at findlaw or nolo. These pages function in the same way as lawyers.com, with the difference that the latter enjoys a much more elaborate rating and/or reputation system. It is a good idea to use these complementary, specialized web services and do not rely on just one. One of the things you can do is, after you’ve found a lawyer at findlaw, research that lawyer on lawyers.com so you’ll have more information, especially about reputation or rankings.
6) Telephone calls
Telephone technology is also available: you can use it to your advantage to find a good personal injury lawyer. Simply call the buffets, law firms and/or associations of lawyers, because a specialized and expert person will assist you and provide you with information that will be very useful.
Personal contact, for example, can be a very effective method of obtaining information associated with the behavior of the lawyer in question. Information you can’t get from a Google search or official records.
State Bar: In the first place, you should contact by phone the Association Bar of the state where you require legal services. The phone numbers can be found on the website of each State Bar, so you’ll have no difficulty locating them. There are two reasons why we put the State Bar in the first place: the first is that it is the state’s official law firm; the second is that these agencies have a section dedicated to serving those who seek or need a lawyer. You can call them and be sure they will help you as much as possible.
County Bar: You probably didn’t know it, but not only do the states have an Association Bar, but some counties do too. Many of these County Bars have their own websites, where you can find phone numbers. These County Bars also have a service for persons seeking lawyer, so if you’re lucky, you can get high-level advice in your own county. For example, the State of California’s Contra Costa County is one of those with a County Bar, so its residents are far ahead in that regard.
Legal firms: It is also recommended that you make phone calls to different legal firms, regardless of whether you have obtained a lawyer who works for a firm or not. Most firms offer free consultations, so feel free to contact any of them for guidance and advice. In case you already have a lawyer in your sights and he is working for a firm, calling them will allow you to collect very good data and you can make a decision with much more security and confidence.
7) Make a list of your preferences
At this point and having implemented to the letter each of the recommendations that have been expressed, it is very likely that you have already selected at least 20 lawyers. However, you should reduce your preferences and limit the number of lawyers to a maximum of 10. To do this, make a list of those 10 lawyers; if you want, you can order them from highest (preferably) to lowest (preferably).
This way, you will be recording the results of your research. Now, once you have made that list, you must do another investigation, where you will examine, carefully and calmly, each of the elements that have merited the candidates a place on that list. The choice of a personal injury attorney should be guided by logical parameters, but the subjective component, namely, comfort and client confidence, cannot be ignored.
So, among those 10 candidates, you must choose the one who balances the logical and subjective components: the one who meets the requirements and the established parameters, but at the same time produces comfort.
It should be made clear that before hiring a lawyer, it is necessary to carry out other stages so that your decision is as well founded as possible. But the explanation of these stages will be explained in another article. Add our page to favorites and watch out for that article as it comes out.