First Step: Educate yourself.In the old days, the law was pretty much a closely guarded secret. The ONLY way you could get your questions answered was to talk to a lawyer in your town. Not anymore. Now, with the advent of the Internet, there is no longer any excuse for anyone to not get a basic understanding about their legal problem, including accident cases, before even picking up the phone.
Search the Internet for FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) about your legal problem. Visit lawyer websites. Visit chat rooms. Visit other legal web sites. Now remember, you must be careful about Internet "information" but all you are doing at this point is collecting information—finding out "what ballpark you are playing in"—even before you talk to a lawyer. Some of the information you find may be flat out wrong—that's why you visit lots of sites. Obviously, it would be foolish to rely on information you find at any one web site. The purpose here is simply to move you along the path of knowledge so that you can make an informed decision about what lawyer to hire.
Remember that if a law firm is listed at one of those mega lawyer directory websites, all it took was a checkbook to get there.
Next, take a visit to the library. Remember the library? It is a fantastic resource of free information. Even though we have the Internet, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned book to start you on the right course. Every city has one!
Step Two: Start to Gather Names of Potential Attorneys. Remember, you are still in the information-gathering process.
Contact them and ask each one for this set of information to be mailed to you (there's no rush, you have time.)
1. Are you a nationally certified attorney?
2. Show me examples of sample verdicts and settlements.
3. Show me articles you have written for legal journals.
4. Show me a list of your public speeches to lawyers about your practice area.
5. Send me a copy of any book, DVD or audio CD that your firm has produced.
6. Send me a sample fee agreement and explain how fees and costs are calculated.
Good Luck. Most people spend more time researching their next refrigerator than they do researching their next lawyer.
Copyright (c) 2008 Benjamin Glass