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  1. #1
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    Default Researching Lawyers Before You Choose One

    I have posted this in various threads before but I thought I would post it here to make it easier to find.

    There are several web sites on which you can research potential lawyers before you select one to help you with your workers' compensation case. I am going to list them and suggest the best features if each:

    Martindale.com This is the web site for Martindale-Hubbell, which has been publishing lawyer directories and lawyer peer review ratings for decades. This the resource lawyers often turn to when they are looking for a lawyer in another state so they can refer a client out to someone. Martindale has three levels of rating for lawyers based on confidential peer reviews that Martindale collects from practically every lawyer and judge in the US. These ratings are expressed as AV, BV and CV. The "V" stands for "good ethics and professionalism" and you cannot get an A, B, or C rating from Martindale unless you get the V from your peers for having good ethical behavior. After you get the "V" then Martindale rates your legal ability as C, B, or A based on your peers' responses to a survey about you. "A" is the highest, and the highest rated lawyers in the A category (the top 5% of ratings from peers) are called "AV Preeminent." A lawyer needs to practice law about 9 or 10 years before he or she gets an ability rating. It seems to take somewhere between 12 to 20 years of experience to get an "A" rating. A young lawyer (or one with less than 10 years of experience) may be very good but may not yet be rated, so this is not a good source to find out about younger lawyers.

    AVVO.com has a rating system based on a math formula that takes into account a whole bunch of factors such as experience, peer reviews, client feedback, professional activities, and some other things. The highest rating is 10.0. A lawyer who has not yet "claimed his profile" tends to have a lower rating due to a lack of biographical information on that lawyer, which is supplied by the lawyer when he claims his profile, and therefore the formula does not have all the information it needs to calculate a high rating. One of the best things about AVVO is that former clients can post reviews about a lawyer, both good and bad. You can find out a lot about a lawyer based on what his former clients have to say about him. AVVO also has lawyer to lawyer recommendations and I would advise you to consider the ones who obviously have worked with the lawyer being reviewed, but not pay much attention to the ones that don't appear to have worked with the lawyer on a case or really know him.

    Superlawyers.com is a listing of lawyers who are chosen due to their high peer review ratings. Being named a "Superlawyer" is roughly equivalent to being named to AV in Martindale. These are lawyers who are well-respected by other lawyers in their community, just like the AV lawyers. Lawyers respect other lawyers who are "good lawyers" who represent their clients effectively, and who act professionally when interacting with opposing counsel and the court. Choosing a lawyer who clearly has the respect of his or her professional peers in the community is a good way to go. Lawyers don't hand out high professional respect to each other like it was candy. It has to be earned.

    WILG.org This is a professional organization that lawyers who represent injured workers join in order to share information and knowledge. I am in this organization and I have been extremely impressed by the dedication of all the other members to helping injured workers all across the country. Their web site has a lawyer finder function that allows you to search their membership directory for a lawyer in your state or city. I think this is a good resource to use because membership costs several hundred dollars a year, so lawyers don't join it unless they are serious about representing injured workers.

    I personally think that advertising is not a particularly good way to learn about a lawyer you may want to hire. It is hard to convey much useful information is a TV or Yellow Pages ad. A lawyer's web site will give you a much better feel for the lawyer's expertise and personality. Also, keep in mind that lawyers who spend a whole lot of money on advertising have a large bill every month for it, and they need to pay that somehow. How are they paying that bill? Are they settling client cases quickly to generate case flow? Is settling your case quickly in your best interests, or not? Can you trust the lawyer on that point if he needs to collect the fee to pay the bill? These are legitimate questions you have to consider if you find yourself attracted to a law firm that does a lot of advertising.

    Once you have narrowed down your search to a few lawyers that you are interested in considering, you can get a free consultation from each of them and plug that experience into your decision making. Workers' comp lawyers all work on contingent fees all over the country, so all of them give free consultations. Ask for one if you don't see it mentioned. When you talk to the lawyer, ask all your questions. This will help you assess his or her level of knowledge, skill, and personality. Ask how they plan to keep you informed as the case goes on, and how they would go about handling your case. Those are fair questions and they enable you to learn a lot about the lawyer.

    I hope this information is helpful if you are looking for a workers' comp lawyer. The insurance companies know that injured workers who have competent lawyers on their side tend to get better outcomes legally than injured workers who proceed without a lawyer. If you have a question about any of it, don't hesitate to send me a PM. Bob
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    Excellent information. Thank you.

    The attorneys we recently discharged after 3.5 years are older, more experienced, have been in practice longer and are the top WC award earners in Maryland, but, are not as well rated as the lawyer now doing so well for us. She was added to Superlawyers.com in 2014 described as a "rising star," they are not listed. This information matches our experience.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    Celtic, I think that is an example of the lawyer peer-review system working like it was intended.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    Indeed! I appreciate you informing us and Tony making sticky of it.

    My wife and I would like to take you to dinner next time we are in Raleigh or you are in DC.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    california
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    this is great info, thank you; too bad I didn't know about it when I was in need of legal help, do these websites give you options to see them in Spanish? anyways if you don't mind I would like to translate and post this info in the Spanish forum.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    Many lawyers speak Spanish or have staff members who do. Usually the lawyer's profile on one of those sites, or the lawyer's web site, will tell you what languages they speak.

    I certainly don't mind if you translate it.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    New York
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    2

    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    I'm a lawyer in New York at the Law Office of Richard M. Kenny. Those sites are all good to find a lawyer, but fundamentally, they can be the equivalent of advertisements if you don't consider your own needs and feelings. Once you find a lawyer or two, i'd like to suggest some specific questions you should ask:

    1) Have you handled cases like mine before?
    2) Will you be available for me to reach you and remain updated in the litigation?
    3) Have you ever taken an injury case to trial? If so, what result?
    4) Do you have experience with structured settlements? Would one apply in my case?
    5) Do you have a contingency fee? What is the fee split? Who is responsible for liens on the case (e.g. workers compensation liens)?
    6) Have you published any content online, e.g. a blog, or any articles?



    Personal feelings:
    1) Do you feel like you can speak openly with your lawyer?
    2) Does your lawyer make him or herself available to you at reasonable hours?
    3) Do you feel like you are being guided by your lawyer through the litigation process?

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers--Before You Choose One

    Cliff's post is a good addition to the sites I started this thread off with.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    CT
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    33

    Default Re: Researching Lawyers Before You Choose One

    Oh my God where you guy's been all my life I wish I knew about this site when i hurt myself a few years ago

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Researching Lawyers Before You Choose One

    "SETTLEMENT MILLS" law firms--- here is an article from Forbes that introduces you to them:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfi...ers-like-them/
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

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