1. How Long Have They Practiced?
Do some research online and find out how long the attorney has been practicing law in Oregon. Run a search for their name in the Oregon State Bar Membership Directory. The first two numbers of the attorney’s bar number is the year they began practicing law in Oregon. My bar number begins with 93 because I have been practicing law in Oregon since 1993.
2. Have They Tried Any Court Cases?
Once you’re ready to call them or have a (virtual) meeting with, have this list ready. First off – ask the attorney how many personal injury cases they have tried in court – before a jury and all the way to verdict. Why? It’s important that you hire an attorney who has tried and won their share of cases in court. Insurance companies keep track of which attorneys settle – and which take cases to court if the insurance company doesn’t make a fair settlement offer.
3. Are They Ready to Follow Through in Court?
How ready is your attorney to follow through on a court case? An experienced Oregon lawyer once said: “People sued will pay more – and people suing will accept less – on the steps of a courthouse.” What he meant by that is simple: many cases settle the morning of the first day of trial. Insurance company pay more when they realize the injured party’s attorney is actually ready to take the case to trial.
4. Do They Handle Non-Personal Injury Cases Too?
Ask the attorney whether they handle only personal injury cases – or also other types. Many lawyers aren’t specialized or successful enough for one segment of law, and support their practice with criminal and divorce cases. If that is indeed the case, ask the attorney what percentage of their cases are actually personal injury claims. Proficiency, savvy and know-how is important when entrusting yourself to a lawyer. That’s exactly why I only work in the personal injury arena.
5. Are They Truly Local?
Lastly – find out if the attorney’s office is in Central Oregon. Many Portland attorneys have satellite offices in Bend, but don’t actually spend any time here. It’s recommended to hire a lawyer who is local. Because they are closer to you, they can provide better service at a lesser cost. And most of all – they know the area, and its court admins and judges.