Once you have made the decision to hire an expert worker’s compensation attorney to assist you with your case, the next questions become – who? And, How do pick one? There are a number of factors that should be considered.
In 2021, there are more resources available now to the layperson to gather information about potential attorneys than ever before. Information can be found on the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board website, through Internet searches and client reviews, as well as by simply contacting a prospective law firm directly and requesting information on the attorney’s credentials. With that said, sifting through the information which you glean and gather from this process can quickly become completely overwhelming.
To simplify your search, I recommend focusing on three qualities when evaluating your prospective attorney:
It is important when picking an attorney to pick not just an experienced attorney but specifically a experienced worker’s compensation lawyer. Given the nuances of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, regulations, and case law, it is not good enough to just select a lawyer who is experienced in general. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer knows attorneys on both sides well, knows how Judges prefer their cases to be presented, and knows how to advise a client on the anticipated outcome in a case. These factors ultimately directly relate to how your case will be handled from start to finish and what results you can expect.
In terms of honesty, it is a critical element of a good and effective attorney. A relationship with an attorney is similar to a marriage in that you are together through good times and bad. Every case, no matter how strong it is, has challenging elements. Furthermore, testifying in front of a judge, completing written argument, and waiting for the outcome after the case has been briefed will all be moments where a client’s patience is tried. If you do not have an open, honest, and straightforward relationship with your attorney, those challenging times become insurmountable. An attorney’s job must always include honesty from the outset because that is the expectation of the client, opposing counsel, and the Judge in each matter.
Finally, an attorney’s reputation is critical. An attorney’s good reputation with a judge can make a case go smoothly even when the facts and circumstances are difficult or challenging. By the same token, an attorney’s good reputation with opposing counsel is much more likely to result in a favorable outcome for the client, because a toxic relationship between the parties or their attorneys benefits no one. An attorney’s good reputation with clients is reflective of that attorney’s trustworthiness and honesty, particularly where a case has legal, factual, or medical hurdles.
While there are many resources available for clients to choose an attorney in the age of technology in which we live, three primary guiding principles should emerge – experience, honesty and reputation. When those three factors line up together, you have the makings of a very long and successful attorney-client relationship.