How to Choose the Right Lawyer
It is important to choose the right lawyer to represent you. Here are some things to take into consideration and questions to ask while you go through this process.
Searching for a lawyer
There are a few ways to find a personal injury lawyer.
- Personal references
- Lawyer referrals
- Internet search
Chances are you will search for your personal injury lawyer on the internet. Make sure you use the correct keywords. For example, “personal injury lawyer brain injury”, will make the search more specific. The first four searches in Google are paid ads that put them at the top of the list. They may not be the best, or right lawyer for your claim. Take your time and look at a few different sites.
What to look for on a Website
A lawyer’s website will give you a good indication of their firm, practice and how they communicate. Look for sites that answer your questions, are easy to understand, follow, and offer solutions or support for you and your family outside of just legal guidance. Little extras reflect how they look at their client’s case. Are you a person or a number?
Look at their slogans. Wishart Brain and Spine Law uses statements like, “Live a Life Not A Claim” and “Don’t’ be the victim of an accident and a complex legal process – Let Us Guide You” Does the language they use make you feel like you matter?
Reading a Lawyer’s Biography
Make sure that the lawyer you choose has proven successful experience in this specific type of injury claim. If you have a Traumatic Brain Injury you will want to find a lawyer who focuses their practice on this specific type of injury law. Complex injury claims require more than a general personal injury lawyer they require someone with experience and a proven success record.
Look at the lawyer’s biography. Do they sit on any legal boards, lecture, publish articles, are invited keynote speakers at conferences? All these extra factors will indicate their experience and reputation in the field amongst their colleagues. For example, in founding lawyer Robyn Wishart’s biography, it states that she is the first Canadian and woman to be invited to lecture at Harvard Law School. This does not mean that the lawyer is going to be more expensive than a less experienced lawyer.
Newer lawyers are they ok?
If the lawyer is less experienced look at the firm and the other lawyers in the office. A junior lawyer that has been accepted to represent a firm is a good indication that they have or are developing strong legal skills with excellent legal support and guidance.
Look on the lawyer’s website for media sections, victories, or trial verdicts of note. These are all indicators of the lawyer’s successful ability to take on challenging, complex cases.
Research the lawyer’s available.
- Don’t just look at personal injury lawyer’s in your area. Look outside of your town or community, especially if you have sustained a severe injury. Typically, focused practice firms are in larger centres. Most complex injury lawyers can arrange to meet with you if you are out of town or refer you to a local lawyer that they trust.
- Inquire if there has been any disciplinary action against the lawyer from the Bar Association and what it was for.
- What type of client service’s do they offer?
- How are they connected or what organizations do they sponsor in the community?
Take advantage of the free consultation
A free consultation is the best opportunity to help you choose the right lawyer.
Here are a few things to note.
- When you contacted the law firm did they follow up with you promptly?
- Did they offer you options for your meeting location or time based on your situational needs?
- Look closely at the office and staff. Are they organized, professional, friendly, happy?
- How did you feel after the meeting? Were you relaxed and confident or did you feel confused or anxious?
- Did they clearly explain the process and what you could expect?
- Was the legal team patient and understanding?
- Did they ask you questions about your injury, medical assessments or treatments?
- Did they ask you how you feel your injury has impacted your life, and your future?
- Did you feel they have a good understanding of the medical components of the injury?
- Did you like the lawyer you spoke with? Do you think you could work with this person for the next few years if necessary?
Prepare Questions to Ask
Prepare yourself before you meet with your potential lawyer. You want to make the most of the consultation. Put together a list of any questions you may have such as:
- Do you have a full caseload that may impact the amount of time you would have to focus on mine?
- How many times are we going to meet and how will I know what is happening with my claim?
- How long will the legal process take?
- Do you require any money up front (retainer) or are you paid by contingency? How do you bill for your services?
- How will I know what I must do during this process?
- What services do you have or offer that will assist me with my recovery or financial needs – especially if you are not working because of your injury.
- Ask the lawyer about their success with claims like yours.
- Do they have any noteworthy cases that have any media coverage?
- Ask them if they will be representing you or will this case be sent to a different lawyer at this, or a different firm (especially if it is a class action lawsuit).
How was the initial contact with the firm?
When you first contacted the law office how long did it take before you received a response? This is important. Initial contact is a good indication of what future communication between you and this lawyer may look like. Please remember that when lawyers are in trial, they can be difficult to reach. This is an indication of the focus and commitment that you will receive when it is your turn in court. General inquiries should receive a prompt response from office staff. Prompt responses indicate you can be assured that this law firm is there to support your needs and answer your questions about your claim.
After your free consultation you should leave feeling that the lawyer listened, understood and respected you and your situation. Remember, a lawyer is your advocate and if you do not feel that they have your best interests at heart this may not be the right lawyer for you.
The right lawyer will patiently respond to your questions in simple, easy to understand language. You should not leave with more questions or concerns than when you arrived.
What to be aware of
Do not be seduced by promises of large settlements or a quick and easy process. Some claims are quicker than others but remember, a claim is not a get rich quick process. Legal cases and settlements are thoughtful and fair. Claims should consider lost wages, future earnings, ongoing care costs, rehabilitation, current and future expenses and much more. The right lawyer will pursue these considerations during the settlement process so that you and your family will be able to live the best life possible.
Wishart Brain and Spine Lawyers are more than just your advocates in the courtroom. We want to make sure you know how to choose the right lawyer, for you. We understand that your recovery includes your physical, mental and emotional well-being in addition to your legal claim. This is called a holistic approach to law. We are here to help. Contact us today. Your first consultation is always free.