How to Select an Attorney
So you need an attorney for your personal injury or medical malpractice case but with all
the ads and claims, how do you figure out who the best lawyer is for your situation?
The answer is to ask questions. Its really pretty easy to get through all the ads and claims
and ensure your needs are best served. Any lawyer can buy advertising and portray they are
“experienced”, “aggressive” or will, “fight for you”…but lets face it, those are just ads, you want
the truth. Right?
Okay. So ask these questions of any lawyer you are thinking about hiring.
Question No.1. How many motor vehicle accident or medical malpractice cases haveyou actually tired, to a verdict, in front of a jury? And, when was the last time you had a jury trial in one of these cases?
Why ask that? Because a lot of lawyers who say they are “experienced” have little if anycivil jury trial experience and this “experience” or “fighting for you” in reality is just settling cases and hardly if ever trying them. No one knows that record better than the insurance companies they deal with. If the insurance company knows they do not try cases, the settlement offers will reflect that reality. Moreover, many lawyers claim a lot of “jury trial experience” when in truth, they are referring to their past work in criminal law – not motor vehicle or medical malpractice jury trials and these are very difference issues of “experience”. You need an experienced civil jury trial lawyer to handle your civil personal injury claim.
Question No.2. How do 1 know I am getting an experienced civil jury trial lawyer tohandle my claim?
The truth is, the best way to find out is to ask the attorney whether he or she is a FloridaBoard Certified attorney, certified in Civil Trial law. To become Board Certified you must have vast and qualifying experience in civil jury trials, the recommendations of fellow attorneys and trial judges (concerning experience and professionalism), and pass a rigorous examination that only about sixty percent of qualified lawyers pass. If the lawyer is Board Certified, you will see the initials “B.C.S.” (Board Certified Specialist) by their name and this symbol:
Being Board Certified is the only way the Florida Bar will allow you to claim you are anexpert or specialist in Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice law.
Question No.: 3. I see a lawyer who claims he or she is “the best”…, what does thatmean?
First, it means the ethical rules of professional responsibility required by The Florida Barand Florida Supreme Court are being violated. The Florida Bar does not allow an attorney to make such a claim and doing so means they are violating rules required by the Florid Supreme Court. In addition, it probably means they have engaged in some sort of advertising that awards them by advertising this claim because of receiving the most internet or online “clicks” in the advertising campaign. What they are “the best” at is getting people to go online and click on a button at an advertising site and then pay the newspaper, periodical or website a fee for the ad. It’s a gimmick and it violates rules of professional responsibility so be very careful. Those claims are usually found next to things like, “Best BBQ”, “Best Pizza” “Best Car Dealership”, etc. and, they are about as accurate.
Question No.: 4. Okay, so I get all that, but how do I make the selection that is best forme and my case?
Knowing the right lawyer for you is only accomplished in one way; making sure of theexperience, (real civil trial experience), qualifications (Board Certification), and personal connection i.e., you must sit down and talk to the lawyers who are actually going to represent you – not the ads, not a paralegal – the lawyers. Just like you get a “feel” for a friend, a preacher or even a teacher, you must get a “feel” for the lawyer. The attorney client relationship is one based on trust and professionalism. Without trust and without professionalism the relationship will not be successful.