Hiring a lawyer can be an intimidating process, especially if you’ve never hired one before. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases are complex and require experienced, top notch attorneys. How do you know which lawyer will bring the attention and skill to your case that it deserves?
We’ve compiled the following list to help you with your decision:
1. Trust your instincts. Do you feel comfortable talking with the prospective attorney? Does he or she listen and ask questions? If you feel that you are not being taken seriously, go elsewhere.
2. Check the attorney’s professional credentials. Carefully review the firm’s website and brochures, and check the attorney’s profile and rating at www.martindale-hubbell.com. If you’re still unsure, ask for references.
3. Make sure the firm is customer-oriented. Do you have direct access to the attorney who is actually responsible for your case? Does he or she return your phone calls promptly? Remember you are the customer and have the right to expect good service.
4. Ask if your case will be handled individually. Some firms will accept your case, only to bundle it with a large group of similar cases. This practice tends to diminish the value of stronger cases in order to help weaker ones.
5. Find an attorney with experience in mesothelioma litigation. Does your attorney have direct experience in mesothelioma litigation? Look nationally for a firm with a solid track record in this area.
6. Make sure your attorney has trial experience. Many attorneys have limited trial experience. Although most cases settle out of court, a lawyer with a strong trial record puts you in a better bargaining position during the negotiating process.
7. Find a skilled negotiator. Does your attorney have training in negotiation? What is his or her settlement value track record? Even though most lawyers spend a much greater percentage of their time negotiating than trying cases, very few attorneys have training or expertise in this area.
8. Ask the firm who their strategic partners are. Under certain circumstances law firms join forces to share their research, expertise and other resources in order to build the best possible case for you.
9. Make sure the firm works on a contingency fee basis. With this type of arrangement the law firm incurs all the financial risk. You don’t pay any out-of-pocket costs until the firm recovers compensation for you; fees are a percentage of the recovery.
10. Check to see if the lawyer is AARP-approved. If not, go to the AARP Legal Services Network to find an attorney. Besides being extensively screened by AARP to become approved, AARP attorneys offer AARP members a 20% discount on their standard legal fees.
Although selecting a qualified mesothelioma attorney is not easy, don’t get discouraged. There are great lawyers out there who are genuinely interested in helping others. Your case deserves no less.
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