Choosing the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions you can make. But, with the sheer number of West Palm Beach law firms out there, it also can seem like one of the most daunting. You are inundated with radio jingles, TV ads, and billboards – all with similar messaging: How much money can we get you? We don’t get paid unless you do! While compensation is important, it doesn’t speak to the experience, expertise, and integrity of the attorneys. When you are injured, you are scared, worried, stressed … and seeking legal help from someone you can trust. Here are some tips to help you get it.
5 Steps for Choosing Among West Palm Beach Law Firms
The first step is to narrow down your options. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, you don’t need to waste time wading through listings for criminal or corporate lawyers. Start your search by the law firm practice areas that are pertinent to your needs. Then it is time to dig deeper.
- Interview Potential Lawyers
We know that if you’ve been in an accident or suffered an injury, time is of the essence. Not only do you have to keep Florida’s statutes of limitations (i.e., the timelines in which you must file a lawsuit) in mind, you need proper compensation to cover the costs associated with your incident, including medical treatment, lost wages, property damages, etc.
That said, it is important to take a bit of time to conduct proper research. After you have narrowed down some options based on law firm practice areas, interview candidates. Put that complimentary consultation to good use! Some questions you can ask:
- What is your experience with my specific legal problem?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What is your track record?
- Do you have any certifications or legal memberships?
- How much do you charge, and how are your fees structured?
- Do you work with experts (e.g., accident reconstructionists, investigators, etc.)?
- If so, what are their rates, and how do I pay them?
- How will you communicate with me about my case?
- Are you the one who will be handling my case?
- Can you provide me with references from other clients?
Listen to not only what the attorney answers but how. Are they patient? Respectful? Do they seem to rush you through your consultation? Are they dismissive? What is their communication style like – it is likely to be effective in front of a judge or jury? Do you get the sense you can trust them?
- Investigate Online
Do a bit of internet sleuthing. Check directories like AVVO, Lawyerist, and Martindale for reviews and ratings. With AVVO, for example, you can see a starred review (much like Amazon does for its products!), read individual reviews, view law firm practice areas, and access other critical information.
Also check out the websites of the lawyers you are considering. Are they informative? Easy to navigate? Do they clearly tell you what practice areas the lawyer specializes in? Do they contain helpful information and resources (e.g., Post Crash Checklist, Auto Accident Injury Resource Guide, etc.)? And while appearances aren’t everything, does the website seem professional, clean, and modern?
- Contact the Florida Bar’s Department of Lawyer Regulation
This department operates a disciplinary system to enforce codes of professional conduct for the state’s 105,000 members. Check that the attorney or attorneys you are considering are in good standing.
- Tour the Law Office
When you come in for your consultation, ask if you can take a look around the office. Just as you did with the website, consider if it is professional, neat, clean, organized, welcoming, efficient, and well-managed. Is there support staff on hand? Other attorneys working? Be on the lookout for lots of unoccupied space, unhappy employees, and disorganization. Seeing attorneys’ offices can tell you a great deal about how they practice law.
- Get the Facts – and Listen to Your Gut
As essential as gathering facts, whether reviews or answers to hard questions, it is equally important to evaluate how you feel about any potential lawyers. As we discussed before, when you speak with them or look through their online articles, for example, do you get the sense that they are knowledgeable in their practice areas? That they are passionate about providing the best legal representation for their clients? That they listen and offer advice that is in your best interests?
If you see red flags, move on. You must trust this professional with very sensitive matters – with your rights. Do not engage an attorney if you feel as if they lack integrity, honesty, or commitment.
The team at the LaBovick Law Group has decades of experience across a spectrum of practice areas. As one of the top West Palm Beach law firms, we have a track record of success and in obtaining just outcomes for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you. And feel free to ask any and all questions you have – and take a tour of the office!