Should I hire the TV Lawyer?
So you’ve been injured – a car accident, an injury on the job, a defective product, a negligent doctor. You know you need to talk to a lawyer, but how do you pick which one?
There are a lot of lawyers out there, each with different specialties and skill-sets. It is hard to know which one to hire, and a Google search is often not much help, since many lawyers have paid quite a lot to ensure that their websites show up on the first few pages of a Google search. Consequently, the lawyers you see listed on the first page or two of Google results don’t tell you much about that lawyer, except that they have hired a good internet marketing firm.
Many folks turn to the easiest choice – the lawyers on TV. Unfortunately, this is often not the best decision.
First, understand that a lawyer on television often gets lots of calls and has lots of clients. You should consider what sort of attention you will get from that firm.
Second, you should know what lawyer you’re hiring. If you’re calling one of the TV lawyers, it’s almost certain that the lawyer on the commercial isn’t the one who will be handling your case. Instead, you’ll be handed off to one of the many lawyers in the firm.
Third, be sure to look closely at what experience the lawyer who is handling your case has. How many years of experience does that lawyer have? How many years doing personal injury work? And perhaps most importantly, has that lawyer tried cases before? You may hope that your case doesn’t go to trial, but the insurance adjusters who are deciding how much to pay you for your case know which lawyers are willing to go to trial and which will take whatever settlement they can get. You want the former.
Fourth, you want to know what sort of relationship you will have with your lawyer. Is the lawyer going to be personally working on your case or farming most of the work out to a paralegal? When you call the firm, can you speak with the lawyer, or are you encouraged to put questions to the paralegal instead?
Many TV lawyer firms have armies of paralegals. Their business model is to have as few hours of lawyer time on a case as possible. By having a paralegal spend time on your case rather than a lawyer, it costs the firm less. But it’s not so good for you.
Fifth, you should ask if the lawyer will handle your case from start to finish. Some of the TV lawyers handle a case only through settlement, then hand the case off to another firm for mediation. This is, again, with the idea of minimizing the amount of time a lawyer spends on a case. Why spend hours in mediation when you can spend that time on the phone with insurance adjusters settling other cases?
If you are engaging a lawyer, it’s a serious matter and it’s very personal to you. You should get the feeling that your lawyer understands that and treats the case that way. He or she should not view you as a customer or a number. You can get a feel for this from the first meeting. Do you meet with the lawyer, or a paralegal? If the latter, that’s a bad sign. If they sit you down and ask you to watch a video, you need to head for the exit.
Your legal case is important and it’s something that will have a significant impact on your life. Take care in choosing who will handle it for you.