In Part 1 of this three-part series, we discussed the power of seeking referrals from trusted friends and family members, and how this is a powerful and preferred way to find a good personal injury attorney for your case. (You can find Part 1 by clicking here.) In this post, we discuss what to do once you've gathered the names of several potential lawyers.
Do Your Research
Once you have narrowed your lawyer search to several names, the next smart thing to do is to conduct your own research, and see if you can narrow your list down.
You might be surprised how much information is available about lawyers on the internet. Probably the best place to start your research is to thoroughly review the potential attorney's web page. You want to take a look carefully at what kinds of cases your potential attorney usually handles. Like virtually everything else these days, personal injury cases are becoming more and more complicated, and the law is changing and evolving at a very fast pace. Attorneys who don't focus particularly on personal injury cases could easily miss something or may not be caught up on all of the latest case law or legal developments. If your potential lawyer claims to do personal injury as well as other far-flung practice areas like construction law, or immigration, or criminal law, you should definitely pay attention to this.
A Lawyer's Website Can Tell You More Than You Think
You also want to look at a lawyer's website and see what information is there. Is the website simply a single landing page, or two or three pages of "Contact Us" information, or is the website loaded with page after page of useful information? You can tell a lot about an attorney by how willing she or he is to share information with the public, and by how useful or helpful that information generally is. As you read the information on the webpage or look at the videos on the webpage, imagine that attorney or law firm being your advocate in your case. Can this lawyer explain things in a straightforward manner? Is this potential attorney persuasive and likable? Can this lawyer take a complex idea or concept and it explain to someone else quickly and easily? These are all attributes that you would probably want, and would probably see in most successful personal injury attorneys.
The Value Of On-Line Reviews
Outside of an attorney's website, you should also see what others have to say about your attorney on-line. Platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Avvo, allow consumers (and sometimes fellow lawyers) to review lawyers and law firms. Check to see what kind of reviews your potential attorney has. If they are not all 5-star, or nearly 5-star, reviews, you might want to take that into consideration. Also, look at what the good reviews say. Are they short, canned reviews, or is there information in the reviews that might be helpful to you? What do the former client's say about their overall experience with the law firm? How easy was the attorney to work with? Did the former client pleased with the result?
Other Valuable Information, Publicly Available
You might want to also take a glance at the Florida Bar website and see if your potential attorney has ever been in trouble or punished by the State-wide organization that regulates attorneys. If your potential attorney has ever been reprimanded, suspended, or had his license revoked, you might want to look elsewhere.
Finally, you can also find information about your attorney by searching in local Clerk of the Courts website where the potential attorney primarily practices. The Clerk's website keeps track of all of the cases where lawsuits have been filed. Unfortunately, many personal injury cases require lawsuits to be filed, in order to maximize recoveries for injured clients. If you cannot find your lawyer's name anywhere in his local Clerk of Courts Civil litigation listings, this means that your potential attorney doesn't, or rarely, files suit to force insurance companies to compensate his clients. Finding no lawsuit filings should probably suggest to you that you might want to look elsewhere.
For more information about choosing the best Florida personal injury lawyer for you and your case, you can find Part 1 in this series here, and Part 3 here.
If you want to actually talk about any of the issues raised in this post, or anything else related to Florida personal injury cases, you can always call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901. Consultations are always free.