Too often, potential clients lack the ability to determine how they should select an attorney. Here are some guideposts to help clients select a California attorney.
1. Attorney Discipline
The California State Bar has an easy to use attorney search to research attorneys. This search will reveal any attorney discipline issues, which should be a red flag to potential clients. It will also show where the attorney attended law school and where they obtained their undergraduate degree. It will also reveal their years of experience as well as their official address. This may be helpful to determine if the attorney is meeting you at a satellite or shared office.
2. Practice Areas
Another important consideration is whether the attorney you might hire is knowledgeable in the practice area in which the client seeks legal advice. There are many attorneys who will take whatever comes in the door. Unfortunately for the clients, this means that the attorney may be learning a new area of law at the client’s expense. Be wary of attorneys that appear to be practicing in numerous, unrelated practice areas, or who have no website to help you understand where their strengths may be.
3. Attorney Referrals
Be careful of asking friends for an attorney referral. These friends may have been their attorney’s only successful case, or may simply represent a personal connection between the friend and the attorney.
More stock should be placed in attorney referrals, as the attorney is likely a better judge of their fellow attorney. However, some attorney referrals may simply represent a referral relationship. Asking multiple attorneys for referrals may be a wise idea.
Reviews on the Internet can be a dangerous source of information. Sometimes, these reviews are fake, or may simply represent an attorney who has expended extra time to ask clients to leave positive reviews, perhaps because they are not busy with existing clients.
Slightly more stock should be placed in reviews that come from other attorneys. These reviews can show a potential client the primary practice areas of the attorney, which can be helpful for the client to evaluate the attorney’s qualifications.
5. Attorney Web Site
Attorney web sites are an excellent source of information to help you understand the attorney’s practice areas. The quality of the web site may also be a reflection of the law practice. Attorneys without web sites can leave the client guessing about that attorney’s history and practice areas.
In short, there are many ways to determine whether an attorney is the right fit for you and your case. Use all available methods to make sure you have made the right decision. If you’re ever unsure if you hired the right attorney, seek independent counsel.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Reid & Hellyer, APC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.