How Do I Go About Hiring a Good Lawyer in Georgia?
If you are reading this section, you may have decided that you need a lawyer to handle your case. Hiring a lawyer is a very important decision and there is no “Top 50” list that is completely reliable.
That said, I suggest the following process:
Do online research about a prospective attorney:
Where did he/she attend undergraduate and law school? Are they respectable schools?
Experience: more than 10 years is mandatory for important cases;
Experience in insurance defense prior to representing plaintiffs;
Positive client reviews on Google.com;
He or she should specialize in personal injury and not be a “jack of all trades”;
Is he or she recognized by the media as an expert?
Is he or she a published author or speaker?
Have they been recognized in Superlawyers magazine or are they on Georgia Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite” list?
Insist on an in-person interview before you decide.
Questions for the interview:
What types of law do you handle? Beware the lawyer who is a “jack of all trades.” (You want the specialist.)
How many cases have you tried?
Have you ever worked in insurance defense for the insurance companies? (Without this experience, the lawyer can make major mistakes in understanding strategy and how to present the case.)
How many people will be working with me on the case? (It is normal to expect that a paralegal or secretary will be working on the case, but the lawyer should retain primary responsibility for the file—not a case manager.) Can I have your cell phone number?
How often will you update me on the case status? (You should expect updates on major developments and contact once a month.)
How many cases are you handling?
How long will my case take? (You know the real answer from this book, so see what the lawyer says. If he or she promises you it will only be a few months, then you know he or she is either a liar or a lawyer who does not go to court.)
What is your strategy for my case?
What is the biggest problem you see with my case?
Do you charge for copies and simple postage? Will there be interest on the charges? (The answers may shock you.)
May I speak with some of your former clients?
Then follow your “gut” and decide. Bad Methods for Hiring a Lawyer:
Do not hire a law firm just because you saw an advertisement on television. With rare exceptions, I can tell you from experience that those firms are “mill” operations where you will have minimal contact with the actual lawyer and you will be treated like a piece of meat. If you don’t believe me, call them and ask to set an in-person meeting with your actual lawyer before you make a decision.
Do not hire someone whose name came to you from a phone call after the crash, be it chiropractor or lawyer. This is illegal case “running.” These lawyers are scumbags.
Do not hire the lawyer the chiropractor recommends. Although sometimes the suggestion is innocent, there is often a client for patient swap going on that interferes with objective judgment about which lawyer actually does a good job.
Do not use a lawyer referral service. Even the one run by the State Bar of Georgia is a paid service with no warranty on the quality of the legal work.