What questions should you ask to be certain you're hiring an attorney with the experience you need for the results you deserve?
Don't make a decision to choose an attorney based only on a TV or phonebook ad. These ads don't tell you anything about what kind of person that attorney is or how experienced they are dealing with serious injury or wrongful death claims.
Before you hire an attorney for a serious injury or wrongful death claim, ask the attorney these questions:
1. "Why do you want to represent me?" - To me, this is the most important question you could ever ask an attorney. What motivates that attorney? Is it just the money? Or is it that the attorney really cares about you as a person? The answer will give you insight about that attorney as a person. Listen closely, you'll be able to tell what truly motivates that attorney.
2. "How long have you been practicing law?" - This quickly lets you know if the attorney has experience handling serious injury or wrongful death claims and whether you and your family will be a "learning experience" for the attorney.
3. "What success have you had dealing with insurance companies in serious injury and wrongful death cases?" - You need to know up front whether the attorney has experience and a proven record of successful results.
4. "Do you prepare every case for trial?" - If the answer is yes, this attorney knows the importance of making sure insurance companies know you will take the case to trial if a fair settlement is not offered. Listen closely and you'll be able to tell if the attorney really knows what they're talking about or is just trying to impress you. A good trial attorney will be able to explain their step-by-step process for trial preparation. If the attorney cannot explain, seems uncomfortable, or avoids your question, beware.
5. "Are you a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum?" - This is one of the most prestigious groups of trial attorneys in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million and million dollar verdicts or settlements. Fewer than 1% of U.S. attorneys are members. Larry V. Roberts is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
6. "Have you completed the Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy curriculum with The National College of Advocacy?" - There are only two attorneys in Tennessee and twenty-two in the United States, who have completed this specialized course of study that includes Specialized Trial Skills Colleges for handling automobile and trucking accidents, nursing home negligence and abuse, medical malpractice and other cases involving serious injury or wrongful death. Larry V. Roberts is one of the attorneys who has completed this specialized course of study.
7. "Are you a Diplomate with the American Association for Justice?" - There are six attorneys in Tennessee and one-hundred-nineteen in the United States who are Diplomates with the American Association for Justice. The distinction of Diplomate is achieved by an attorney who completes at least 400 hours of continuing legal education with the American Association for Justice, taught throughout the United States on topics specifically designed to enhance the trial skills for those attorneys who want give the extra effort required to assure their clients of receiving the best representation possible. Larry V. Roberts is one of the attorneys designated a Diplomate with the American Association for Justice.
8. "Are you certified as a Civil Trial Specialist and Pretrial Specialist?" - If not, beware. This attorney may not have experience preparing and taking cases to trial. Currently fewer than 4% of all practicing lawyers are certified by an ABA accredited or state sponsored certification board. Larry V. Roberts is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist and Pretrial Specialist.
When you choose an attorney, you're making one of the most important decisions you may ever make. So, If an attorney seems upset or takes issue with you asking these questions, beware.