The search for a lawyer should not start and stop with the phone book, a television ad, the internet or a billboard. Fantastic lawyers and bad lawyers alike use those methods to find clients, but it can be difficult to distinguish one lawyer from another. No matter how you find a prospective lawyer, here are some questions to ask:
- Experience: In Abraham Lincoln’s time it was not uncommon for a lawyer to be a jack of all trades. Today, however, you should steer away from general practitioners. If you need a personal injury lawyer, you want a lawyer who focuses on personal injury. If you need a lawyer to help you form a business, you should find a lawyer who handles commercial law every day. Each practice area has become very intricate, and a lawyer with a general practice cannot possibly keep up with the changing law.
- Education: In Oregon, lawyers are required to have 45 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) every three years, including 5 hours in ethics. This is the minimum. Some lawyers will take any course to help them meet their hours. Your lawyer should be well versed in CLEs devoted to the practice area that you are interested in.
- Giving Back and Leadership: Particularly for personal injury law, your lawyers should devote themselves to helping prospective victims. One way is to volunteer time with local and national trial lawyer associations, like the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice. Lawyers who work with these groups are not paid for their time, but do so to help educate other lawyers, and to advocate on behalf of victims. Several of our lawyers have had leadership positions on these organizations.
One more thing: if you call a lawyer up for a personal injury case and they require you to pay for an initial consultation, move on to the next one. There are too many good lawyers out there who will talk with you for free, whether on the phone or in person, to help you find out if they are the lawyers for you.
Of course, we hope that you’ll contact us with any of your legal questions. Whether we can help you with cases regarding automobile accidents, workers’ compensation, wrongful death or elder abuse; or whether we can help you to find a lawyer for any other type of case, please contact us at 1-541-617-0555, or fill out our internet Contact form on the right side of the page.