Buyer beware: certain lawyers should not be hired. You can tell who they are because of they:
1) Show up at your home, hospital room, or funeral home – or send someone else (called a runner) – right after an accident. This way of getting legal business is called barratry, and it is illegal. In Texas, it is a felony. If a lawyer is willing to commit a crime to get your business, do you really want to hire a criminal as your lawyer?
2) Show up (or send a runner) to a relative’s home and offer that relative an expensive gift for getting you to sign him or her up as your lawyer. This is also barratry.
3) Have been disciplined by a state bar association (meaning they have committed major infractions). In Texas, you can find an attorney’s history of public disciplinary actions by doing an attorney search on the State Bar of Texas website. The best way to search is by using the attorney’s last name, and the first initial of his or her first name. To find out if an attorney has had any public discipline (such as public reprimand, suspension or license revocation), you can call the Bar’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel office at (512) 427-1350 and they will tell you.
4) Work out of their trunk. Some lawyers have “virtual offices.” I say an attorney without an office or legal staff isn’t invested enough – either in his practice or in your case.
5) Have an office that looks like it could use a maid service, a repairman and maybe an exterminator. This is a lawyer who is not very successful, and there’s probably a reason.
6) Use phony “awards” to show he or she’s a top dog. Many of those awards can be bought by advertising in whatever publication is offering them. Same thing with “big” verdicts. A $10 million verdict may sound good, but not if the case was worth $20 million in a better lawyer’s hands.
So how do you hire a good lawyer? Read my blog, “Six tips for hiring a good lawyer.”