Practicing law is ultimately a people business. Obviously one cannot be a lawyer without an extensive education. But it’s ultimately the ability to engage with a prospective client and gain their trust that makes a successful lawyer. This is especially true in the field of personal injury law, which has long been stereotyped as the realm of shady smooth-talkers. As a prominent player in the legal community of DC, Maryland, and Virginia, Malloy Law Offices is proud to do whatever it can to dispel this negative perception. But we must acknowledge that, as in any other industry, bad actors can imbue people with negative impressions of their profession writ-large. One bad apple, as they say, spoils the bunch. Today we’d like to summarize some of the personal traits to look for in your personal injury lawyer.
As previously stated, law school is an absolutely mandatory condition for the practice of law. Better, more specialized, or more prestigious law schools may produce better-prepared lawyers. But there is no substitute for experience. While a legal education can teach a younger person the significant arguments and legal concepts required to succeed in their chosen field of law, this is very different from living as a practicing lawyer. Law is not merely practiced in the courtroom, it’s a larger set of skills best developed through years of experience.
However, experience is not always a universal good. As in any other profession, long-tenured lawyers may come to be stuck in their ways, or behind the times. Given that law is ever-changing; legal professionals must be as well. Attorneys are required to attend a minimum hours of continuing education per year in order to retain their licenses. A good attorney should seek to exceed this minimum. Refining and honing their craft should be the goal of any good legal professional, and is one of the key traits to look for in your personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury cases can often be cloaked by ambiguity. A strong case will be built on a thorough and meticulous accumulation of hard evidence. A good lawyer will not go to the negotiating table (let alone the courthouse) based merely on the contents of a police report. If you are consulting with an attorney in advance of officially retaining their services, you should ask what resources they plan to call upon to strengthen your case. These may include:
It’s common to hear promises to “fight for you” in the advertising material of law firms. It may seem overdone, but you really do want a lawyer with the tenacity to win every cent possible. While you may be hoping to receive expedient compensation as medical bills pile up, you’ll be grateful in the long run for an attorney willing to stick in the fight and ensure you are fully compensated, even if that means going to trial.
Given that your case concerns your circumstances, with your livelihood possibly on the line, it stands to reason that you should do the majority of the talking in the early phases of consultations concerning the case. An attorney that talks too much, talks over you, or interrupts you, is an attorney throwing up red flags. At the end of your consultation, you should consider whether the attorney you’ve been speaking with seems to have absorbed the information you’ve attempted to communicate.
Furthermore, you should consider whether the attorney in question seems engaged about your physical health and emotional suffering. If you feel they’re being performative in their concern, you may wish to look elsewhere for representation. You’ll likely be collaborating with this attorney for an extended period of time. You don’t need to be best friends, but some degree of comfort is key.
The talented attorneys at Malloy Law Offices try to embody these traits to look for in your personal injury lawyer. It’s our privilege to serve the injured in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. We stress a culture of empathy for the injured and individualized attention for all our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured due to another’s negligence, contact Malloy Law today for a free consultation.