Last year I sued a business partner who had attempted to defraud me of almost $400,000. I live in the Friendswood, TX area and the only thing that made sense was to get a local attorney. I ended up hiring Jerome Karam, and haven’t regretted it for a single second.
I started this blog in an attempt to help others pick a good lawyer. I learned this whole process the hard way, and you don’t have to go through it again.
So, without further adieu, here is how you should go about finding a good attorney.
“Good enough” is not good enough
Don’t ever settle for anything less than excellent service when choosing an attorney to represent your case. It’s in your best interest to select the very best lawyer, and not the second or third best.
Some people spend hours and hours over many weeks to select a the best automobile or house. They analyze tens, if not hundreds of offerings, and then make an educated decision. Yet when deciding which legal firm to trust with the outcome of issues that may probably be second in importance only to family and health concerns, they choose a name from a random listing on the Internet or respond to a local TV or radio advertisement.
Look for reviews
And I’m not talking about paid ones – the type of review where the customer pays to get five stars when, in fact, his service is sloppy. Find blogs created by average Joes (like this one). Join forums and ask for advice. I saw lots of people who had good things to say about Jerome Karam.
Disregard negative publicity, but with diligence
I, in general, don’t care about isolated bad ratings and believe that there is no such thing as negative publicity. I particularly don’t care about scandals. When I was looking for an attorney in the Friendswood area I initially landed on the site of a lawyer who had been accused of having (consensual) sex with an underage girl (she was almost 18). Why would I care? Agreed, the guy has less than pristine morals, but does this mean that he is less of a professional? It’s not like he’s the Pope or something. Will he do a poor job representing my case if he had slept with a 17yo girl? I want to hire him to help me sue a company, and I’m not going to take him home to have dinner with my parents.
Nevertheless, I didn’t find anything fishy about Jerome Karam.
First and foremost, arm yourself with lots of patience. You will have to do a lot of research before hiring a lawyer, because you should never, ever go with the first attorney you lay your eyes on. Why is that? Well, let me ask you a few questions:
- Did you buy the first car you saw on TV, or did you read specs, create budgets, learn about safety standards, ask around and all that?
- Did you deposit your life savings with the first bank you rank across, or did you build a list of financial institutions, analyze their interest rates, quality of services and made a decision accordingly?
- Did you buy the first house that your real estate agent showed you, or did you ask around and only made a decision after viewing half a dozen of them?
I could go on and on and on with such questions, but I bet you got the picture. Don’t ever go with the first law firm that you learn about. I, for one, chose Jerome Karam attorney for my business litigation case only after interviewing companies from across the whole state. It took me around two months to make my decision. But picking the right attorney is a major step in the outcome of the trial, so you shouldn’t rush the decision. You should do your homework properly, ask around, study the market and only then take your pick.
Pick an experienced attorney
Stay away from general lawyers. An attorney who can represent you in a homicide case, as well as a landlord dispute and a divorce will probably not excel in any of these fields. I’m not saying that s/he’s not a good lawyer – it’s just that the many experience in a certain field might make a difference in your case.
Another reason why I picked Jerome Karam is his fairly narrow area of speciality – he has 20+ years of experience in personal injury law practice and business litigation, and doesn’t deal with any other areas of legal practice.
Size doesn’t matter
In the legal world, the size of the law firm doesn’t matter – it’s only the skills of its attorneys that you should be looking for. In my research for a good law firm I read about cases where a boutique firm has put up a better performance than a national one. I demanded to work with Jerome Karam directly, because I liked his references, and didn’t bother with anyone else in his firm.
I don’t even know how many people are in Jerome Karam’s firm, and frankly I don’t care. I only know his secretary, because I talked to her on the phone many times when Jerome asked me to send in some documents. He could have 1,000 other lawyers in his firm, or he could as well be the only one – I don’t care, and it was irrelevant for my case. I worked with the best, and so should you.