8 Tips for selecting a lawyer
The questions below are designed to help select legal counsel, yet they can also form the basis for the selection of a specialist in any related field. Not all professionals are equally qualified to provide services following brain injury. Search for and retain the best in each field.
In the answers that you receive consider if the lawyer:
- Listens to you and your concerns
- Answers questions in a way that is easily understood
For each of the criteria listed below, individuals are graded from 0 to 3. To guide your selection process you may want to base your decision on which legal counsel received the highest overall score.
Question: How would clients and families describe their experiences working with you? Are you willing to provide me with client and family references?
A specialist will have satisfied clients and family members and will be known to professionals specializing in brain injury work. If you would feel more comfortable with speaking to someone about the lawyer you are considering obtaining to represent you you must not hesitate to ask this question.
0– poor service
1– consistently provided good services (in the opinion of clients) over time, willing to provide references
2– consistently provided excellent services over time, willing to provide references
3– consistently provided services beyond the call of duty, willing to provide references
Question: What proportion of your present workload is brain injury?
The answer to this question will tell you whether or not the person you are interviewing is a specialist in brain injury and is capable of handling a serious injury case.
0– none, just general personal injury
1– does substantial brain injury work, but also other work, all in the personal injury field
2– practice consists mostly of brain injury cases
3– specializes in brain injury cases only and office is set up to provide service for the survivors and families
3. PROVEN TRIAL EXPERIENCE
Question: How long have you been practicing in the field of brain injury? How many brain injury cases are you currently handling?
The answer will give you a good idea of the individual’s experience, and their familiarity with brain injury work, i.e. whether or not they deal with such cases on a regular basis.
0– has been leading counsel for plaintiff in less than three Supreme Court brain injury trials
1– has reported cases of brain injury litigation and more than 3 trials
2– has cases involving substantial awards for brain injury, takes difficult cases
3– has managed the most advanced and complex litigation for brain injuries, takes difficult cases, has extensive trial experience, reputation as excellent trial lawyer for plaintiff
4. ADVOCATE FOR REHABILITATION
Question: Describe your involvement in your client’s medical and rehabilitation care?
It is necessary to advocate on behalf of clients to obtain the best care available. The first priority is the TBI survivors’ care and well-being. Your lawyer should assist in the recovery process however possible.
0 – does not advocate for rehabilitation of the survivor
1– is active in rehabilitation, which is understood to be a primary goal and service
2– attends team meetings, support the families, is an active advocate within his/her professional boundaries, believes rehabilitation is fundamentally important to survivor and family
3– devoted to rehabilitation, supports all professionals as needed and, if necessary, has paid rehabilitation out of his/her pocket
5. EXPERIENCE/INVOLVEMENT IN THE BRAIN INJURY COMMUNITY
Question: Describe your experience working within the brain injury community?
Level of involvement in the brain injury community reflects the counsel’s commitment to the field as well as their understanding of brain injury and related medical, social and legal issues.
0– has few cases, new at the practice, never lectured, rarely attends brain injury conferences
1– has had a number of cases over a number of years, attended brain injury conferences on a regular basis
2– many cases over many years, regularly attending and lecturing at brain injury conferences
3– decades of experience involving brain injury cases, lectures at brain injury conferences, including national conferences, has published in area of brain injury litigation, and has been involved in un-paid advocacy.
6. SUPPORT FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY CAUSES
Question: How do you and your firm support brain injury related causes and the brain injury community including local brain injury societies or related associations?
The members of these associations are often very helpful to people with brain injury and their families. Counsel’s involvement with them reflects their commitment to the brain injury field and the lifelong care of their clients.
0– has never belonged to nor supported brain injury associations
1– has provided some regular financial support, known to be interested in the causes of brain injury survivors, supports and espouses brain injury family values; understands the need for advocacy
2– supports brain injury associations financially and non-financially, is an advocate for unfunded survivors and families
3– long supporter of the cause of brain injury advocacy, brain injury associations, is known to be an advocate for unfunded survivors and families, provides financial and temporal and moral support for brain injury associations and their values
Question: Can your clients reach you 24/7? If not, what type of back-up do you provide?
A crisis can arise at any time and a TBI lawyer must be accessible to their clients at all times.
Question: Does your firm work as a team on behalf of your clients?
Brain injury cases are all about teamwork. A team in the hospital, a team for rehabilitation, a team with family and health care experts, and a team in the law office. It is too complex and important to be a one person show, ever.
It is helpful to note that specialized lawyers in this field typically do not charge for an initial consultation and investigation of these issues.