Injury & Accident Compensation Resources
In Law Firms Biggest Does Not Always Mean Best
Just because a law firm advertises that they are the largest or biggest does not necessarily mean that they provide you with the best legal services. McDonald's is the largest restaurant chain in the country. However, no one can argue that in order to get a good meal with great service, you would go to a fine family or gourmet restaurant. Also, going to someone who advertises as being the largest does not mean that you will get a break on legal fees. For example, 99% of all personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee system, which is set by law as being 33 1/3 percent. So what do you get with a firm that claims to be the largest injury firm? Most likely you'll get an office that has a lot of attorneys working on a lot of cases, trying to get a quick fee at the expense of the client.
Anyone who is seriously injured needs a firm that has a reputation of having competent legal counsel. How do you know, one lawyer is better than another? You must do more than just rely on the firm's advertising. There are numerous long-established legal organizations, which rank attorneys. Many send surveys to other attorneys and judges who then rank the lawyers and firms. The oldest and most respected is Martindale Hubbell and their web site is www.MartindaleHubbell.com. Martindale Hubbell sends out yearly questionnaires to lawyers and judges that rank legal ability and ethical standards with a rating of a (superior), b (very good) or c (average) in legal ability and v for attorneys that meet applicable ethical standards. The firm that has the highest rankings is placed on their bar registry of preeminent law firms. Very few injury firms get this high honor. In addition, Thomson legal publishing publishes the Best Lawyers in America directory and their web site is www.bestlawyers.com. To get a ranking in best lawyers other lawyers need to nominate the attorney and their nomination is then voted on by their peers. There are also organizations that have very high standards in selecting trial lawyers and if members of the firm are admitted to these organizations, it is a further indicator of the ability of the firm. One is the American Board of Trial Advocates and their web site is www.abota.org and the American College of trial lawyers www.actl.com.
If you also know an attorney you can also ask for their opinion on the law firm. Although a general practitioner should not be handling a personal injury claim. They should be able to refer a client to a competent injury firm. The key thing to remember is that size does not equal competence. You need to do your homework, just as you would when buying a house or a new car. You need to find an attorney who has the ability to handle your matter in a way that assures you the best result possible.
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