The decision to hire a lawyer, especially a trial lawyer, is one of the most serious decisions anyone is ever called on to make. Follow these steps, and make your decision on the basis of skill, experience, and success.
- Interview the Lawyer.Ask how many cases similar to yours the law firm has tried and the results of those trials. NOTE: Your law firm must be someone very qualified to actually go to trial before a judge and jury if your case is to have credibility. The result for you, either by way of judgment or settlement, will be much more satisfactory. If your lawyer is ill-equipped to go to trial you may find yourself stuck with whatever settlement the other side proposes, whether or not it is good for you.
- Ask for References.Ask the lawyer to get permission for you to contact some of the firm’s previous clients and determine their level of satisfaction.
- Find out what Organizations Member of the Firm Belong to.There are a number of organizations a lawyer can join just by signing an application and paying dues. Membership does not mean that the member lawyer is particularly experienced or skilled in trial practice.
On the other hand, there are a few organizations which have very strict performance and review standards that are important to you. Membership in these organizations indicates that the lawyer in question has demonstrated a high level of experience and is considered by judges and other lawyers to especially skillful and ethical.
The American Board of Trial Advocates. Membership is by invitation only and is limited to those who have tried a minimum of 20 Civil JuryTrials to completion, and have been elected to membership by at least 85% of the members participating in the election.
The American College of Trial Lawyers. Fellows in the American College are selected after the most rigorous investigation of their ethics, abilities, and experience. Comments are solicited from judges before whom they have tried cases, as well as from other attorneys with whom they have tried cases—either as co-counsel or as adversaries. Membership is limited to just one percent (1%) of the lawyers in each state.
The International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Membership in the world-wide trial lawyers’ academy is by invitation only. Only 500 lawyers in America are members.