Every person or entity selecting a lawyer has unique needs. Included in the requirements are all or most of the following:
- Specialization of the lawyer or law firm if the matter in which you need representation requires a special expertise.
- The general qualifications of the lawyer or law firm, i.e. college, law school, reputation in the community, other clients of the lawyer or law firm that you know and who make a recommendation.
- Fee structure. If you cannot afford them, then do not use them.
- Their reputation for responsiveness to the client’s needs which starts with prompt return of phone calls.
- Most important of all is how you, the client, relate to the lawyer and the law firm. Are you comfortable with them professionally and personally? Remember you may have occasion to spend substantial amounts of time with your lawyer and law firm.
The following are the usual sources people use to select their lawyers:
- Local bar associations usually have a list of qualified lawyers and their specialties
- Lawyer referral services such as Martindale & Hubbel (Martindale) which lists the lawyers, educational background, specialties and courts where they are admitted to practice. Martindale also rates lawyer by their ability and honesty. The ratings are created by the lawyer’s peers. Martindale, for example has four ratings c-v, b-v, a-v and preeminent. The v relates to honesty and integrity. Preeminent is the highest rating a law firm can achieve. (Our law firm has a pre-eminent rating.)
- Recommendations from other people who have used a law firm and were satisfied
- Recommendations from other lawyers you know who do not do the type of work you require
- Lawyer’s website
- Other forms of advertising.
Of course, items 5 and 6 are marketing tools and may not be objective.
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