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Choosing the Right Attorney
Let's face it. Nobody really wants to have "a case." Nobody really wants to see a lawyer. It usually means that you have an issue, a problem that needs addressing, or that you have suffered injuries, losses or damages.
When it comes time to choose a lawyer, you should focus on a few different important factors:
The Attorney Should Handle the Case From the Beginning
Some lawyers will have their support staff work up your case, while the lawyer will never actually see the case or be involved in the day-to-day case management and strategy necessary for a successful outcome.
In fact, you may be advised to resolve or settle your case without ever having an attorney thoroughly analyze your matter.
In fact, some lawyers actually have it built into their contract with the client that the client may never see the lawyer.
Your case needs to be thoroughly prepared from the beginning by an expert lawyer. Not only is this what you should expect, but it is absolutely necessary in order for your case to succeed, especially when you are pitted against a major insurance company, corporation or the government.
It can be an advantage to have local counsel with you when you go to the courthouse as a litigant. Your lawyer knows the judges, knows the clerks, and knows the other lawyers.
Sometimes law firms advertise as "Central Coast Legal Counsel" complete with pictures of local landmarks, etc. Upon further review, some of these lawyers are internet satellite lawyers with one office in a major city such as San Diego and sparsely populated or non-existent satellite offices.
While there is nothing wrong with advertising in such a fashion, it does not mean that your attorney knows the lay of the land locally. In fact, a lawyer may have no track record locally at all. Remember, every legal venue is unique and home field advantage is real.
There was a day not too long ago when lawyers could not advertise. Lawyers got their clients and cases through word of mouth. In other words a lawyer's reputation for excellence naturally led to success. Clients could be confident that they selected an excellent lawyer because their lawyer had a real track record for success.
In today's world, any lawyer can advertise and most do.
For example, some lawyers advertise that they resolve "more than 90%" of their cases "favorably" or that they have a "95% success rate."
While a high success rate is good, your attorney should also be ready and qualified to take your case all the way to trial.
Your case may not settle or resolve prior to trial. Therefore, your lawyer should have a proven track record of success - at trial. The government and large corporations and businesses such as insurance companies typically send their most experienced and best lawyers to trial.
No one really wants to go to trial, but sometimes it is necessary in order to achieve justice.
Jury Trials are the ultimate vehicle to achieve justice and your lawyer should have a trial record success rate. Your lawyer's winning trial record will give you confidence to know you can win and will add value to your case in any pretrial negotiations.
What is a Trial Lawyer?
There are lots of attorneys in the area. Some would quickly point out there are too many attorneys.
Perhaps this is a topic worthy of discussion, however lawyers, especially trial lawyers, serve an important function in a democracy.
For example, in our civil justice system lawyers are the vehicles in which a citizen may seek redress for a variety of civil claims including civil claims for damages and to combat corporate and government abuse of power.
Sometimes lawyers are the only thing protecting citizens from the force of the government or major corporations such as insurance companies.
Trial lawyers, especially those who work on a contingency fee, allow an average citizen to do battle against the forces of government and large corporations.
Some of the most famous Americans were trial lawyers including John Adams and Abraham Lincoln.