How to Select an Attorney Tip: Evaluate Honors and Accomplishments
Take the hype with a grain of salt.Lawyers are not shy when it comes to talking about their accomplishments. When interviewing a lawyer, you may hear about the million-dollar verdicts they won or the honors and awards they received.These are nice credentials to have and perhaps favorable indicators of the lawyer’s ability but don’t base your decision solely on these. Be a little skeptical. A million dollar verdict sounds good, but it’s quite possible the case was really worth $2 million in the hands of another, more skilled lawyer. The size of the verdict sometimes depends more on the facts of the case (the injuries sustained, the applicable laws, the state where the accident occurred) than the skill of the lawyer. Great lawyers and big verdicts usually go together – but not always. When it comes to honors and awards, there’s been a proliferation of these in recent years. Be aware that not all awards are created equal. Some are legitimate and based on an honest and thorough selection process that involves a number of factors indicating peer recognition and professional achievement. Others are simplistic and based merely on lawyers voting for each other and amount to nothing more than a popularity contest. Worse yet, some sound legitimate but are “pay to play,” meaning the lawyer had to buy their way onto the list with advertising or membership in an organization. So, if the lawyer cites an honor or award, check the website of the organization making the award. See what the actual selection criteria are. If the criteria are not easy to find or not clearly stated, discount the value of the accolade.