1. Reputation: Has the attorney been recognized by AVVO legal ratings with a Superb rating of 9.5 or higher? Was the lawyer named to any Best Lawyer’s lists? Be sure the law firm has a reputation for handling legitimate claims for legitimate claimants. Frivolous lawsuits hurt everyone by delaying real claims from getting to court. Be sure your lawyer does not have a reputation for handling frivolous matters.
2. Communication: When working with an attorney you must have good communication with one another. Your attorney needs to know how to communicate with you and others to maximize your representation. In other words, you want an attorney who can talk clearly with you and the defense or jury. You want an attorney who is thorough and detail oriented and has a complete understanding of your case and area of law. The time an attorney spends with you gathering information shows that the attorney is dedicated and a professional. You want an attorney who is willing to give you a full written explanation of the steps involved in the handling of your case. Does the attorney have a handout explaining the points he has gone over with you on your first visit? Lastly you need to know how often your attorney will communicate the details of the case with you. An attorney must keep you informed. An attorney who does not keep you informed will frustrate you.
3. Cost: Be sure your attorney explains in writing all fees and costs you will incur. Your lawyer must provide you with a copy of the retainer and explain it to you.
4. Experience: How long has your attorney been practicing law? What kind of cases does your attorney handle? How long has the attorney focused on this area of law? An attorney with at least 20 years of practice is ideal.
5. Expertise: Is the attorney trained in this area of law? Do other attorneys refer their clients to this attorney?
6. Be sure your attorney carries a minimum of $1,000,000 in Errors and Omissions Malpractice Insurance.
7. Professional Network: Does the attorney have a network of professional experts? The lawyer should know and hire experts in a variety of fields. The more contacts an attorney has the more thoroughly your case will be handled. Look at the professional organizations; bar associations and other groups the attorney belongs to so you can gain insight about the attorney’s skill and commitment to clients and the legal profession.
8. Technology: Technology is power. It allows attorneys to get things done efficiently. One clue is the professionalism of the attorney’s website. Is it up to date? Is it clear and easy to navigate? A quality law firm invests in their website and makes it easy for prospective clients to do their due diligence.
9. Community involvement: Be sure your attorney is involved in the community and routinely gives back. This speaks volumes about a person’s character. Is the attorney in Rotary; President of local organizations or picked by the City Council as a member of the City’s commissions? Has your attorney been recognized for his/her community involvement with a Day in his/her Honor; been Man or Woman of the Year and/or recognized in Who’s Who lists?
10. Hire Locally: Always work with an attorney in your city. They know the local courts and are known and respected by all the necessary parties.