So, you need a lawyer and don’t know how to find one. What do you do? You could call a friend to see who she hired. Or, you could call a lawyer who represented you in the past to see if he can handle your matter or refer you to someone who can. Or, you could merely hire someone who runs TV ads, has billboards or has local celebrities shilling for him. After all, if you order a Big Mac because it’s on a billboard, why not hire your lawyer for the same reason?
Because there’s a difference.
If you don’t like the Big Mac, you’re out a few dollars. But if you hire a lawyer because a radio host says the lawyer is a friend – even though he potentially has no clue whether the lawyer actually is good, great, or terrible – you might end up like many of the people who call our office. They went to one of the firms that spend zillions on advertising, got shuffled from one legal assistant to another, and never knew which attorney would show up for any given hearing. And then lost their cases.
They call us, and lo and behold, we discover that the case should have been handled differently. Or that the case should have settled for more, but the lawyer handling the case needed to pay his advertising bill.
Pennsylvania lawyers are required to attend 12 hours of continuing legal education each year. On March 22nd, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the list of attorneys administratively suspended because they didn’t have the time to meet that basic 12-hour requirement. Some of these “big name” lawyers made that list because they had so little regard for their obligations.
So, you need a lawyer and don’t know how to find one. Hopefully, you now realize that hiring a lawyer is different from ordering a burger.
Ask yourself, how seriously will they regard their obligations to you if they can’t even bother to spend less than two days taking the courses designed to keep them up-to-date on the law that impacts you – their clients? Is that the kind of person you want representing you?
You will never find anyone from our firm on that ignominious list. Why? We want to learn about current and cutting edge legal issues, and we are a firm that teaches the courses that other lawyers are required to attend. In 2017 alone, Havertown Attorney Dan Siegel taught dozens of CLE courses, was on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the continuing legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and has just been appointed Chair of the American Bar Association Law Practice Division’s Continuing Legal Education Board.
So, the next time you need a lawyer to handle your personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, skip the billboards and ask a friend or lawyer you trust. And if you don’t find someone, then hire the lawyers who are leaders not only in the courtroom but also in the rooms where lawyers learn from the experts.