In general, lawyers get a pretty bad rap. Everybody knows at least one or two jokes that mock the integrity and trustworthiness of the profession. The reality is, lawyers are fine and upstanding professionals who care about the people they represent. However, there is of course the occasional “bad egg” who could leave a sour taste in your mouth.
After a car accident, you’re vulnerable, and some less-than reputable attorneys might try to take advantage of your situation. It’s important to be wary of your counsel’s intention, and to feel certain that their primary interest is in helping you more than themselves. This comprehensive guide can help you determine whether your car accident lawyer is the real deal, a saint or a charlatan.
#1 – Check Their State Bar Profile
Every lawyer, no matter what they specialize in, is required to pass a test known as the bar exam. When a lawyer practices in a new state, they have to retake the bar, with questions tailored specifically to that state’s laws.
Once a lawyer passes a state bar exam, they have what is known as a “State Bar Profile” created for them. Here you can see whether their license is legitimate and the length of time they’ve been practicing within your state. This can help you gauge not only your lawyer’s legitimacy, but also their experience with your state’s particular legal nuances.
The bar is our nation’s finest qualifier of genuine legal representation. If your doesn’t appear to come up in your state’s bar profile, then they are likely not equipped to handle your car accident case. However, if they are, you can rest a little easier knowing a bit more about their capabilities.
#2 – Use Legal Rating Services
While client testimony and personal accolades are nice, verifying your lawyer’s quality with a third-party rating service can give you a more genuine peace of mind. These services can analyze records and extensive qualifications to give you a comprehensive sense of your counsel’s value.
- “Super Lawyers” is one such service. They use their patented selection process to find and verify superior lawyers. Whether you’re looking for car accident lawyers Atlanta, or trying to justify your selection, “Super Lawyers” can give you the peace of mind or jolt of reality you need to make the right choice.
- com is another service, and is actually owned by the same company that owns “Super Lawyers.” This site is geared more towards a “marketplace” format and is an excellent way to comparison shop for representation.
These sites are a great way to verify and find legitimate lawyers. No matter what your attorney or peers say, the only genuine way to determine a lawyer’s quality is to use one of these third-party rating services.
#3 – Confirm Their Educational Background
Anytime you hire anyone, you should always do your due diligence to confirm their educational credentials. This can help you gauge not only their knowledge base, but also their trustworthiness and integrity. If a lawyer lies to you about their education, then they likely aren’t someone you should trust with your case. Checking education credentials can be difficult, but it’s an important step in verifying your lawyer’s legitimacy.
- Contact the law school from which they claim to have graduated.
- Most educational institutions have a pretty open policy when it comes to general education records, so obtaining verification shouldn’t be impossible.
- In some cases, you may have to actually visit the school itself to see the records.
- If you’re unable to visit the school, you should at least ask to see your attorney’s diploma and any other documents or memorabilia they may have to confirm their claim.
Lawyers understand better than anyone the need to protect yourself from potential fraud or scammers. Doing your research and asking for their cooperation shouldn’t irk any legitimate lawyer, so never hesitate to do so. Verifying your attorney’s credentials can give you a sense of their education level, specialties, and even their character.
In the end, it’s about protecting yourself from even more pain and financial setbacks than you’ve already experienced. After a car accident, the last thing you want is to be taken advantage of. Don’t hesitate to exercise every recourse possible for verifying your lawyer’s legitimacy. You deserve genuine, passionate, and competent representation and you should do everything you can to ensure that you get it.