A rose...is a rose...is a rose, but lawyers are not roses!

Hiring the right lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.  If you have not dealt with different attorneys regarding different matters, you may be under the impression that all lawyers are the same, but nothing could be further from the truth.

While all lawyers must pass a bar exam and maintain required standards, thinking they are all the same is like thinking there is no difference between Derek Jeter and the newest rookie. While they are both professional baseball players, there is clearly a big difference between the two! Similarly different lawyers will have different levels of experience in each area of practice.

There are many ways to research a lawyer’s qualifications and experience.  For example, all attorneys are now required to take continuing legal education courses to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of what is current in the law.  Some lawyers will listen to a lecture during their daily commute, while other lawyers will attend seminars in person where the experts in the field teach the current state of the law.

Q: Which one of these lawyers do you want to hire?

A: Neither! You want to hire the lawyer giving the lecture!

In today’s world of Google, LinkedIn and other social media, a simple search should enable you to identify the experts.

Additionally, there are several well-respected organizations that can provide you with reviews and rankings of lawyers, as well as specific background information to help you decide which lawyer to hire.

Super Lawyers

Visit the website here.

Super Lawyers is an independent rating service for outstanding lawyers, those who are considered the top 5% of their area of practice. The Super Lawyer selection process is as follows:

1.       Peers select the best lawyers in their fields

2.       Third-party validation

3.       Review by experts

4.      Top 5% are selected  

AVVO Rating

Visit the website here.

AVVO matches the attorney's background via an unbiased mathematical model to determine each lawyer’s numerical rating. Factors taken into consideration include:

  • Experience level
  • Reputation
  • Professional awards and achievements
  • Lectures and Publications
  • Attorney’s disciplinary history

Martindale-Hubell

Visit the website here.

Martindale-Hubell is another peer review rating service for lawyers. Their methodology recently changed to examine two factors in their determination:

1. Legal Ability:Legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability and legal experience.

2. General Ethical Standards:Adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics.

Lawyers that meet both of those standards, are awarded an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubell.

When selecting attorneys, it is important to consider their experience level, reputation and the attention they will devote to your particular matter in addition to the fee they charge.  Failure to do so may be far more costly in the long run, so don’t skimp on the research you do!