Despite legendary reputations and a seemingly endless number of crooked lawyer jokes, lawyers are a necessary evil. However, before you hire an attorney and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees, you should know how your lawyer stacks up against the rest. It is important to talk to people in your community, determine whether your attorney has faced any disciplinary infractions, and read peer and public reviews. Try these tips for learning how your attorney is rated.
Ask around: One of the best ways to find out how your attorney is rated is to talk to people in your community who have hired your attorney. However, when relying on word of mouth, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
The majority of the time you will probably find honest reviews of your lawyer, but some of the time you may talk to individuals who have a sore spot, or who are biased. You may find someone who says that your attorney is a scoundrel because that person did not receive the award or ruling that they were hoping for, failing to mention that their poor experience was due to some fault of their own. Granted, everyone’s take will be different. After asking around, if you only hear negative comments about your attorney, then you may want to rethink your decision to hire said lawyer.
Contact the Bar Association: Through the American Bar Association (ABA) you can find out if your lawyer has been disciplined, or if they are in good standing with the ABA. First, find out the states where your attorney is licensed to practice. Typically, attorneys are licensed in one state, however, some are licensed to practice in multiple states. Then, you can contact the division of the ABA in the state or states where your attorney is licensed and make sure that your attorney is in good standing.
If you find that your attorney had a past disciplinary infraction, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your attorney is down for the count. Through the ABA you can research what the disciplinary infraction was for and when it occurred. Then you can determine whether you will continue to work with your attorney, or hire them at all.
Online rating systems: There are numerous websites available where you can read reviews and ratings of your attorney. Such sites allow you to search for your attorney by state, specialties, etc., but you may have to search several sites before you find a review of your attorney. If you are interested in this type of rating system you can visit the following sites: Lawyer Reviews Online, Lawyer Listings, and Martindale.
Finding out how your lawyer is rated is not only smart, but also responsible. You pay a great deal of money for the services of a qualified legal professional, and you should know that you are getting your money’s worth. It is best to use these methods of determining attorney ratings before you hire an attorney. By following these tips for finding out how your attorney is rated you will save yourself a great deal of money and hassle.