Are you looking for a five-star lawyer?

Are you looking for a five-star lawyer?

If you are facing a legal problem, you might be on the hunt for a good, top-notch lawyer.

Many people begin their journey of “lawyer shopping” by searching the internet for lawyers nearby with lots of stars and positive reviews. Five-star lawyers are usually determined based on plenty of stars and positive online reviews from seemingly credible websites. I suspect we are all guilty of reading online reviews before when looking for a product or service provider.

However, like most things, those five-star lawyers are not necessarily good lawyers. Some five-star lawyers are actually pretty lousy at their job, or mediocre at best, but they just so happen to be good at online marketing, buying reviews or asking their buddies to leave a thumbs up or two online to bolster their online appearance.

Is a five-star lawyer worth the hype?

Many legal professionals know the answer to this question, but they are not allowed to tell. Law firm employees are usually required to promote their own firm and lawyers instead of referring people to other businesses. If a potential client called a law firm and asked the receptionist if the lawyer was any good as a lawyer, and if the answer is anything but “yes,” their job would be in jeopardy. It’s bad for business for support staff to tell potential clients that their lawyers suck at their job, overbill, or ignore their clients. For that reason, be skeptical when relying on online reviews or the testimony of hired staff.

How can you find a good five-star lawyer?

The only way to find a good lawyer is to schedule consultations, meet with several potential lawyers and trust your gut. Do not hire the first lawyer you meet. Interview at least two different lawyers and pay attention to the subtle cues that show what type of person that they are. Above all else, pick a lawyer based on your interactions with them and their staff.

Is a consultation worth the time or money?

You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test ride. You should exercise the same caution when searching for a lawyer. A consultation is an opportunity to meet a lawyer to screen them before paying them a ton of money to assist with your legal matter.

When you contact a lawyer to discuss a legal matter for the first time, the legal support staff will likely tell you about their consultation process. Each firm has different procedures, but generally, the procedure starts with collecting your personal information, providing the other sides full name for a conflict-of-interest check, then a meeting is booked. The very first appointment is called a consultation, then you can decide to hire the lawyer after that.

When providing your personal information to book a consultation, pay attention for red flags. What you should be aware is that a lawyer may refuse to have a consultation with you if the support staff collects information that suggests your matter is high conflict or that you are low income. Scheduling consultations is not always an equal opportunity process. In fact, if legal support staff asks about how much money you or your ex makes before they will schedule a consultation, the lawyer is probably trying to determine if you are even worth meeting with because you may not be able to afford their fees. If a lawyer allows their legal support staff to schedule a consultation after only collecting the bare minimal information (both parties names for the conflict search), it’s usually a good sign that the lawyer is not money motivated or harshly judging potential clients.

Unsurprisingly, the lawyers that are not passing judgment are usually willing to meet with as many people as their schedule permits. These lawyers also tend to meet with people for free or a greatly reduced rate. On the other hand, the lawyers screening their callers usually want full payment for their time and restrict their availability and quantity of consultations scheduled. The selective lawyers also tend to have higher online ratings.

What should you take from this?

You should use extreme caution when judging a lawyer based on online reviews.

The lawyers with the inflated ratings are not always the lawyers their staff would recommend to their friends or family. Highly rated lawyers tend to charge more and have less empathy for their clients. Higher rated lawyers tend to aim for low conflict files to avoid poor ratings and they tend to refuse to help people that need it most. Higher rated lawyers also tend to ask for ratings whereas good lawyers tend to be more reserved when it comes to soliciting reviews.

In fact, many good lawyers do not receive the good reviews they deserve online. Many good lawyers put in hours of unbilled time and work late into the evenings for their clients without recognition. Sometimes clients are frustrated for a variety of reasons and lash out online. Without having the full story, it’s hard to determine if the disgruntled client had a valid concern or if they were attempting to bully their former counsel and damage their reputation. The Edmonton Family Network would be more skeptical of the lawyer with a hundred five-star reviews than the one with only one or two bad reviews.

Edmonton Family Network has connections to exceptional legal service providers and community support services. We help people discover great options for their situation.

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