This is the sequel to my blog two weeks ago, "8 Tough Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Lawyer". I believe there is so much pertinent information you should know before you hire a lawyer that I had to split it into two articles. So following are 9 more questions you should ask a lawyer before you hire him/her:
1. Do you litigate cases?
It is extremely important that the attorney you hire be a litigator. You need to know that your attorney intends to see your case through to the end for you--regardless of the position that is ultimately taken by the other side. The insurance companies know the attorneys who litigate, and those who do not. In large, settlements are higher for the clients of attorneys who are willing to to fight for them all the way to the end.
2. Have you attended the Arizona Trial Advocacy College?
This is an important question. The Arizona Trial Advocacy College is a program that is taught by the very best trial lawyers in Arizona. Insist that your attorney have attended.
3. Will you discuss my case with me over the telephone?
An experienced attorney will make themselves available to you as best as possible. If you have a question or need to discuss something that should only take a few minutes, then there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to talk with you over the telephone. Attorneys often have hectic schedules, so if you need more than just a few minutes make sure to schedule something, whether it be over the phone or in person. No one can be available at every minute, however, if you call and you attorney is unavailable, make sure they return your call in an acceptable amount of time.
4. Are you a member of the Arizona Association for Justice?
The Arizona Association for Justice is an organization of lawyers whose members represent consumers and are dedicated to preserving and protecting the rights of all Arizonans. The Association provides advocacy, continuing legal education and public education on behalf of its members and their clients. If these things are important to you, then you should choose an attorney who is a member.
5. Are you a member of the American Association for Justice?
This is the federal counterpart to the Arizona Association for Justice and is also known as the American Trial Lawyers Association. "It is the mission of the American Trial Lawyers Association to provide news, information, and education to attorneys who practice or have an interest in trial work, including civil plaintiff and criminal defense law." Association membership is extended only to those attorneys who have passed an extensive screening performed by a leading University's Trial Advocacy Program.
6. Have you ever defended insurance companies against injury claims?
Know who you are hiring. Does your attorney have your best interests at heart, or, does he/she rely upon income from insurance companies.
7. Will you evaluate my case for me without cost or obligation?
Experienced personal injury attorneys will handle your case on a contingency basis. Regardless, make sure to discuss all details regarding how the attorney will be paid and how much he/she will be paid.
8. If the insurance company doesn't offer a fair settlement, are you willing to fight for what is fair?
This is very similar to question # 1, many attorneys today do not want to go thru the difficulties of litigation or trial, however, sometimes cases cannot reach an agreement or a fair settlement without it. When this occurs you need to know your attorney is willing to go the extra mile and fight for you, or, when push comes to shove, if he/she will refer the case elsewhere.
9. Are you a Certified Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death?
The state of Arizona has an extension approval and certification process for experienced personal injury attorneys. Only those qualified are bestowed the honor of being called Certified Specialists. Make sure that the attorney you are hiring is a Certified Specialist. It can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.