Most people have no idea what to look for in a personal injury lawyer. And nobody knows how difficult it is to find the right lawyer until they really need one.
Here are 6 important qualities to consider when searching for a lawyer:
Most cases are very personal to the plaintiffs. While most of the workers involved (insurance adjusters, lawyers on both sides, clinicians) do this work every day as part of our jobs, this is often the first time that the client has ever had to hire a lawyer. It may also be the first time they have ever suffered a serious injury. As part of the process, the client may have to provide a lot of intimate details about how they have been hurt and how their lives have changed. As such, having a lawyer who is capable of understanding what the plaintiff is going through, and empathizing with them, is essential.
2. Good listening skills
Lawyers are busy. This means many of them have grown accustomed to working with short attention spans and little patience. But for a lawyer to be as effective as possible, it’s not only important that they get the full story, including all the seemingly insignificant details, but that they make their clients feel comfortable enough to share their entire story. It’s also important to consider that people who have been injured often want to be heard and need to express their feelings.
3. Ability to communicate
Overall communication skills are important in any field, but in personal injury law, we deal with clients who usually have no experience or knowledge about the complicated legal system that they are stepping into. As such, it’s essential to have a lawyer who’s able to lay things out clearly and succinctly. If a lawyer addresses his/her clients the way they speak in court, the clients will struggle to follow along, only adding to the stress of the legal process.
Will the lawyer be available for meetings at your convenience? How quickly will your urgent phone calls to be returned?
Unfortunately, this is something many lawyers struggle to provide. In fact, some lawyers do not answer their phones unless a call is scheduled in advance. Or they have their assistants make and return calls on their behalf. Choosing a lawyer who doesn’t make your time a priority could mean you’re waiting days or weeks to speak with them at a scheduled appointment.
Look for a lawyer that goes above and beyond – maybe they give you their personal cell numbers or maybe they accept your calls at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night. These are the little things that can completely change your experience with the legal system.
This goes without saying, but it’s imperative to have a lawyer who knows what they’re doing and can achieve the desired results. An experienced lawyer will be able to effectively negotiate with other lawyers or insurance adjusters, value a case for settlement, cross-examine witnesses and make effective arguments. Experience is the best teacher.
Is this someone you can get along with?
Good chemistry will ensure a better relationship and more positive results for your case. In order to gage chemistry, it’s important to take the time to meet with lawyers and learn more about their practice and pick up on their candour, honesty, personality and how they engage with you. This will tell you everything you need to know.