Best ways to find a lawyer with a successful record

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Q: How can I check to see if my lawyer is successful?

A: While there are no official statistics or records kept anywhere, there are a couple of things you can do. First, see if they are listed in Martindale Hubbell, which are ratings of lawyers by their colleagues on both skill level and ethics, though not ever lawyer is included in the listings. You can find the listings at Look for lawyers with ratings of at least BV or AV, which is indicative of a very high level of skill and ethics. You can also check Avvo, which has lawyer ratings and reviews from both clients and colleagues, to give you an idea of a lawyer's performance.

Next, ask friends and family for recommendations of lawyers they may have used. If you can find someone who has had a good experience with a lawyer, you may feel more comfortable with them.

Look them up on their state bar website, and see if they have any disciplinary record/disciplinary history. I know, for example, that Florida shows the last 10 years of any disciplinary history, but other states will vary.

Most importantly, set up consultations with a couple of lawyers, and talk to them. Ask them about their qualifications. How long have they been in practice? What percentage of their practice is dedicated to __________? For example, if you wanted a criminal lawyer, would you prefer someone who did only criminal defense work and was a former prosecutor, or someone who also practiced real estate, business law, and estate planning, and did criminal law only on the side?

Ask them about how cases like yours typically are handled and what type of success they have. Ask them if they are willing to go to trial if necessary, or only want to use non-adversarial tactics like mediation.

Trust your gut, and go with the person you feel is the most capable and best able to handle your case.

-- Answer from Robert JDFL, an attorney on JustAnswer

Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided by a Expert on JustAnswer.

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