Well it certainly is a competitive legal market and that especially concerns the personal injury legal field. Clients or would-be clients are seeking the right match in retaining an attorney to represent them in their personal injury case.
I recently went to a seminar on effective organization for law firms. To my shock, really to my astonishment, the seminar leader said you, the lawyer, should not sit down with clients in the first meeting when the “intake” occurs. Rather, this seminar leader informed us that we should have the paralegal sit down with the client. He did say -and this is hardly a concession in my opinion- that maybe you could come in to meet the client. His point is that it is better to do the client intake through the paralegal.
I find that astonishing. I really do. I raised my hand and said bluntly, “I don’t get this, God forbid, if I needed surgery, I would want to sit down with the surgeon.” Who wouldn’t want to know what they face? Who wouldn’t want to evaluate the surgeon/lawyer? The seminar leader backtracked a bit but not enough to my liking.
In evaluating who is a good fit for you, you certainly want to know that you will have a lawyer to develop your story. Sure the lawyer uses a team. But he/she must meet with you to develop that personal story in addition to establishing a comfort level.
As my list on the video portion of this blog indicates, ratings can be helpful to a consumer. I would not expect lay people to know which ratings are the most meaningful. Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell seem to be getting the most attention these days. They seem to have respect in the industry. Martindale has been around for well over a hundred years. Avvo is a relative newcomer but has rapidly gained respect.
Frankly, some of the other ratings are pure nonsense. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t hear from some sort of company offering a certificate of this or that. The problem is that most of these companies are unknown. Moreover, they have an agenda: get as many lawyers to join and then those not-so special lawyers can boast of their membership while the company collects a large membership fee.
Please don’t be deceived by a legal website with untold listings of high ratings from many third party sites that purport to rank lawyers. They exist to get the lawyer to pay money for a badge on his or her website. These new, largely unknown third party sites are of no substantive value. Other rating services such as Better Business Bureau tell you nothing of a lawyer’s competence. If the lawyer receives an A+ from the Better Business Bureau does that indicate deep substantive knowledge of the law or how to pursue a personal injury case?
If the client or would-be client wants to focus on ethics – a wise thing certainly- then a look at the Board of Bar Overseers website is warranted to see if there has been any discipline meted out against or adjudicated against the attorney. The bottom line is not to be distracted by irrelevant ratings from fly-by-night organizations. Instead focus on client ratings, reputable third party sites such as Martindale or Avvo, and official organizations like the Board of Bar Overseers in Massachusetts.
Those are two characteristics, client contact and ratings. The third criterion is client results. Most detailed websites will give you a record of success. The attorney can blog and describe the success of a particular case. Fourth, you want to look at the experience that the lawyer has. It is not a per se matter, for it is not automatic that somebody a few years out of law school is not as capable as someone who is a few decades out. Still, experience in the professional tends to inspire confidence in the professional from both the client and the lawyer’s adversaries. Again you can analogize it to the medical profession which, while not adversarial, puts a value on experience.
Finally, the fifth of my designated characteristics is comfort, meaning the comfort level. Are you comfortable with the lawyer and his or her team? If everything else checks out, comfort level then becomes an important criterion on which to hire an attorney for your serious personal injury case.
The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.
Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.