A smart lawyer.
A medical malpractice lawyer.
Here in New York.
You think your doctor was careless.
You think your doctor's wrongdoing caused you permanent injury.
You don't know an attorney.
Nor do you know someone who can recommend a trusted lawyer.
So, what do you do next?
While doing your research online, you notice that most lawyer websites say the same thing.
"We've been in practice for over 20 years!"
"We give personal attention."
"We get results."
"We prepare every case as if we're going to trial."
"As seen on TV!"
"If we can't get you a result, you don't have to pay us!"
Sure the facts are slightly different, but the results page show they've gotten settlements and verdicts that were favorable for their injured clients.
What you don't see are the cases that they lost.
Rarely will you ever find an attorney talking about a case he lost and why. (I do.)
What you don't see is the case that was settled for less than the full value.
As you are searching for the right lawyer for you and your specific malpractice case, how do you distinguish between lawyers who have similar million dollar verdicts?
Aren't they both good?
Don't their verdicts indicate they have significant experience?
The answer is yes and yes.
Nothing beats success.
Nothing beats experience.
But when you are choosing amongst attorneys who have similar credentials, similar experience and similar results, how do you decide which one is really for you?
You might be thinking it's a tossup and it doesn't matter which one you go to.
You consult with some friends and family members.
They are as torn as you.
One relative suggests flipping a coin to see which lawyer would be better for you.
Another relative suggests to go to the attorney who appears to be the underdog as he will want to succeed more than the attorney who has already been successful.
You could flip a coin and rely on chance to decide which attorneys right for you.
You could throw a dart at a dart board and do the same thing.
You could decide to go with the attorney looks nicer on his website.
On the other hand, you could evaluate the information each lawyer provides before you ever pick up the phone call.
This allows you to see what kind of message they are putting out to attract new potential clients.
Is the lawyer providing you with information that teaches and educates you?
Are they explaining to you how your particular type of case works?
Do they have hundreds of frequently asked questions and answers on their website?
Do they have free consumer-oriented books that they wrote specifically to help you understand how your lawsuit works?
If they don't, you might want to ask “Why not?”
If a law firm fails to provide you this great information before you ever pick up the phone to call, you need to ask why aren't they providing you with great free information?
They might have chosen not to market themselves at all and simply relies on word-of-mouth to generate new clients.
On the other hand, a law firm might decide to put out great information to help educate and teach consumers who have legal problems to educate them before they ever call or come into their office.
Many attorneys have similar credentials.
We all went to law school for three years.
Everyone who practices law has passed the bar exam.
We are all licensed to practice law in New York.
Sure, some law schools are better than others.
Assuming the two lawyers you are considering both have the same type of experience, a similar number of years in practice as well as similar results, it's going to be extremely challenging for you to decide which one is right for you.
Your best bet would be to make in-office appointments for each of those law firms.
Meet with each attorney.
Ask many questions.
Let's face it, an attorney who has similar results and experience compared to another attorney who has also achieved million-dollar verdicts and settlements usually means that they know what they are doing.
You might decide that the staff in one lawyer's office is friendlier and more receptive to you and your concerns.
You might prefer the convenience of one lawyer's office over another.
You might decide to go with one law firm because they don't ask you how to spell your last name every time you call.
Remember, your choice of attorney will affect you for the next 2-3 years.
That's the typical length of time a medical malpractice case takes from start to finish.