I always say (and always will say) the best way to find a personal injury lawyer is to get a referral from a friend or family member who used that lawyer's services and was happy. Even referrals from other lawyers can be subject to influence based upon the referring lawyer getting paid a "referral fee" from the handling lawyer. But what if you don't know anyone who has used a "plaintiff's lawyer" or more likely nobody was happy with their lawyer?
In this "post-Yellow Pages", find everything on Google time in which we live, where do I start my search for an injury lawyer? I like to look back to my basic rules of finding a lawyer: Get a referral, meet with the lawyer, make sure the lawyer is experienced in the subject matter and make sure the lawyer is familiar with the jurisdiction. I know the referral part is out, so let's talk about the computer based search and certain principles of attorney marketing. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. If an attorney or a law firm appears too big or too broad or comes up in search results too often, it is likely based upon a very expensive marketing campaign and not simply upon servicing their client's and getting good results.
From a business standpoint it is always more beneficial for me, and more cost effective to get good results for a client than it is to pay for advertising online or in another form. Happy clients send me new clients and make me money. And, happy clients do not get paid for their referrals, while lawyer marketing companies charge heavy fees for small results in a very competitive market.
Getting back to the computer, there are several very large attorney marketing and review sites which give a lot of good information about lawyers. www.avvo.com is one of the largest. Also in the running are
www.findlaw.com and let's never forget about
www.yelp.com, because it's not just for restaurants anymore. Last but not least there is
www.calbar.org which is the California Bar official site and always a good way to make sure your lawyer is in good standing with the Bar.
Now, let's not fool ourselves because these are mostly marketing sites or at least they are often used as paid marketing sites by the lawyers. Isn't that just like the Yellow Pages, you ask? Yes and no. Many of the websites referenced above have value far beyond the dollars that lawyers pay to advertise on them. For example, from these sites one can often see reviews from prior customers who used these lawyers. The reviews can tell you not just that a client was happy, but often describes the type of case that was handled and the type of service that was performed. You may also be able to tell where the lawyer is located, how long the lawyer has been practicing law and other information that may help you formulate a decision on which lawyer to hire.
All of this being said there is still no substitute for meeting with the lawyer who will be handling your case. Do not meet with a secretary, paralegal or sales representative for the lawyer, insist upon a meeting with the lawyer him or herself. If the lawyer does not have time to meet with you and answer your questions before you hire him, he will not likely have time to hire you after you hire him. When you do meet with the lawyer, don't be afraid to ask that lawyer questions like: How long have you been doing this? Or how often do you handle this type of case? Make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer and do not be afraid to get a second opinion about your case.
If you have questions about hiring a personal injury lawyer, or would like an evaluation on your injury case, please call me for a free, confidential evaluation: (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340
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