• How do I know if I need a personal injury attorney?
Making a claim for injuries that were caused by someone else usually means you will be working with their insurance company. Insurance companies are very good at getting people to abandon their claims by wearing them down or convincing them that their injuries aren’t that bad or worthy of compensation. A good personal injury attorney understands what insurers do, and how to combat them to get their clients some measure of justice.
• How does a contingency fee works.
Most of my cases are taken on a contingency agreement, which means that I don’t charge an hourly rate. I defer charging anything until we collect something from the at-fault party, and then I charge a percentage of the recovery. It’s typically 1/3 of the recovery, but it can be more or less if the circumstances require it.
• Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
Lawyers in Washington State are required to take a certain number of continuing education classes to maintain their licenses. I am fortunate in that I am frequently asked to teach those classes. I have also taken a number of specialized courses in litigation and insurance coverage. It’s an endless learning process.
• Why did you become an attorney?
Like many others, I grew up with Perry Mason, Matlock, LA Law, To Kill a Mockingbird, and many other storied looks at the legal profession. But it was when I participated in a high school mock trial program that I fell in love with this work, and I have never regretted that decision.
• What questions do potential clients most commonly ask you and what’s your answer?
“How much is my case worth?” Any lawyer that answers that question at the first meeting, is doing you a disservice. A good lawyer takes in the whole case and digests it carefully, before making any forecasts on case value. Even then, any amount suggested should be the lowest reasonable value to keep expectations within a reasonable range.
• What is it that you like most about what you do?
I have stayed in touch with a lot of my clients, though I don’t do work for them anymore. The relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to make have made my life better and happier. It’s a definite perk of this line of work.
• How do you practice law compared with other lawyers?
The best way to describe how I practice law, is that I work as hard as I can to educate my clients. I want them to know what I am doing and why I am doing it. I want them to ask questions and make suggestions. Going to law school doesn’t make a lawyer good – it just gives him permission to practice. Experience and a willingness to listen make the good lawyer a great one, and I strive for that constantly.
• Who should I talk to about my claim?
Information is power. Do not talk to at-fault parties, or their insurance companies, until you have been well instructed by an attorney. Attorneys are experienced in what to say, and when to say it, to increase the potential for success.
• How do I know if I have a good attorney?
Lawyers all have talents, and flaws. Finding the one with the talents you need is important. The practice of law is all about connecting with others. If you don’t connect with your attorney, your chance of success diminishes.
• Do you have advice for a potential client looking to hire you?
Clients have to be good consumers, and should interview any attorney they are considering. I recommend to potential clients that are unsure of hiring me to go speak to other attorneys, so that they can compare the style of each. The attorney client relationship requires trust and confidence – two things you cannot build if you don’t know who is representing you.