It used to be that you never needed to use the word "professional" when describing an attorney. However, the "profession" has changed significantly. It’s an unfortunate, but realistic, change.
What happened? What else – money (and supply and demand). Money always seems to change everything. As lawyers proliferated, they had to find new ways to make money. Those who were only in it for money decided they could make more if they advertised. Once that happened, the floodgates opened, and those who advertised didn’t care about their professional appearance as much as they cared, and care, about getting cases in the door.
Now what? The public looks at all of us as cheesy, money-grubbing individuals who file frivolous cases for a buck. So, is this true?
Not at all. But, the public doesn’t know – or care.
So, how do you know who a good attorney is? Ask questions before you hire them. Whether they advertise or not does not necessarily tell you whether they are a good or bad attorney. But, if you ask around, you can usually find out their reputation amongst the public and/or their peers.
What makes a good attorney? In my opinion, they take their job seriously with respect to the profession and the people they represent. An attorney who represents individuals in claims against others or companies should be willing to explain to you how they will handle your case, i.e.: what steps will they take. Here are nine things we have done for our clients:
1. Meet with them to discuss their case, not a paralegal or secretary;
2. Correspond with our clients and keep them updated;
3. Accept their phone calls and call them back (not always the same day if we are in deposition or court);
4. Communicate with the insurance company, defendant, defense attorneys, health insurance carrier, creditors, and other important parties to the case;
5. File a lawsuit;
6. Conduct discovery – interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, take depositions, obtain photgraphs of evidence, take witness statements, etc.;
7. Employ experts to help prove the case;
8. Prepare the case for mediation, arbitration, or trial; and
9. Provide our opinion about the case and the chances for success.
We like to think that we have built a solid reputation in our community over our collective sixty (60) years of practice. We have had clients praise us, and we have friends throughout the legal community on both sides of the bar, Plaintiff and defense, who have referred us cases because they had confidence in our abilities.
Hiring an attorney is an important decision, and it is not one that should be done on a soundbite. Do your research and make sure the attorney is right for you. Otherwise, your current legal problem could become a bigger mess down the road.