Another lawyer and I recently had a conversation about how people find attorneys. He was quite surprised to hear how many people used the internet to find an attorney. He said, “how can someone make such a big decision just from reading a website.”
I began thinking about what he said – and it made a lot of sense. I have always been the kind of person to ask around, research and even try out things before I buy them. Why would an attorney be any different? If you think it about, it is very easy for attorneys to sound great on their website. This is part of their job.
The question, then, is how do you find the right attorney. Here are some steps that may help you to find the right attorney:
Ask your doctor, chiropractor, friends and family. Check with the people you know and trust.
Research several attorneys
As you know, not everything you read on the internet is true. Look to find out more information about the attorney. Find out what this attorney has done in their profession. Places you can look would be:
- The lawyer’s website
- Minnesota Lawyer Public Discipline Search
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- MN Work Comp Court of Appeals
Call the attorney and set up a time to talk either in person or over the phone
When you meet don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Does the attorney represent employers or employees, or both?
- What is the attorney’s experience with your type of case?
- Will other attorneys in the firm be working on your case as well?
- Does the attorney try cases? Some attorneys do not try cases and would look to settle or pass along your file before a hearing.
- Ask the attorney to explain the various steps involved in handling your workers’ compensation case.
- Ask the attorney how often he or she will update you on your case. Find out the best ways to communicate with the attorney. Depending on your situation, the attorney may be able to provide a timetable that lays out the steps in the case. However, this may not always be possible.
- Ask how long will it take for her to return your phone calls or emails. One of the biggest complaints I hear from injured workers who are looking to change attorneys is that their attorney does not return phone calls. Thus, ask when you can expect a return phone call from either the attorney or a staff member. Keep in mind, workers’ compensation attorneys are typically extremely busy and often are in court.
- Ask how far will they be willing to appeal your case if necessary.
- Ask if the attorney charges you for the costs of your case, as well as, the fees. Some attorneys include in their fee agreement that you will be responsible for paying these costs if your case is not successful.
Go with your gut
First impressions are always the most important. The attorney should look the part. If the lawyer comes in with a golf bag wearing golf attire you may question whether that lawyer is really going to spend the time necessary on your file. If it doesn’t feel right, keep looking.
Don’t be pressured
Some attorneys, like used car salesman, want to “close the deal.” Take your time. Think it over if necessary. Just make sure to let the attorney know soon after your decision whether you want them to represent you.
In the end, make sure you and your attorney have the same goals. You should be comfortable with the attorney’s working style. If you have questions or concerns about your legal matter, you express them to the attorney and listen to his or her responses. Follow through with any recommendation made by your attorney.
If you follow these steps, you should have some success in finding a workers’ compensation attorney for you.
We at the Law Office of Thomas Mottaz are workers’ compensation attorneys that help people with Minnesota work injuries anywhere in MN. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.