Today, I want to discuss how you can benefit from your lawyer’s experience. Many law firms advertise years of combined experience of several lawyers as a benefit to potential clients. Just try an online search for “Edmonton injury lawyer” and you’ll see what I mean. Some law firms will have more than one lawyer working on your case at different times. Some firms will have one lawyer assigned to your case. Some firms have several practice areas. How does this speak to the amount of experience you are benefitting from on your case? Here are some tough questions to ask your potential lawyer or firm that will help you make the right decision and hire the right lawyer.
1. Will there be more than one lawyer working on my case?
A lawyer with fewer years of experience is likely less beneficial to you than a lawyer with several years of experience. A law firm’s combined experience of 50 or 150 years is really meaningless if you have one lawyer in that firm working on your case. Be sure to check out the experience of that one lawyer. On the other hand, the firm may have several lawyers working on your case, although usually never at the same time. One lawyer will interview you. Another lawyer may draft your Statement of Claim. Another lawyer may conduct the questioning. Another lawyer may conduct a mediation or Judicial Dispute Resolution. Another lawyer may go to trial. While each lawyer has a high degree of experience doing one particular thing, the disadvantage is that each new lawyer has to get up to speed on your case and familiarize themselves with the facts and what has happened in your case to date. Building trust in the relationship can be difficult when you deal with multiple lawyers.
2. Does the lawyer practice other areas of law?
If the lawyer focuses on many areas of law, it is less likely that the experience they bring to your case comes from practicing injury law. A lawyer with 5 years of experience practicing personal injury law can bring the same experience to your case as a lawyer with 30 years of experience practicing several areas of law, only one of which is personal injury law.
3. Does the lawyer or firm have extensive experience in your specific area of need?
The scope of personal injury practice is broad. Some firms will handle slip and falls, assaults, medical malpractice, and motor vehicle accident injury. The more experience your lawyer has in any one of these areas, the more you are likely to benefit from his or her experience if you require a lawyer who practices in that area of personal injury. For example, some personal injury lawyers practice solely motor vehicle accident injury law. If you need a medical malpractice lawyer, or have been assaulted, or have sustained an injury in a slip and fall, you are not likely benefitting from that lawyer’s experience. Conversely, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, a lawyer’s practice with that specific experience is beneficial to you. Especially, since the lawyer will understand the law as it applies to motor vehicle accident cases (which changes regularly).
4. How long has the lawyer practiced in Alberta?
New injury law firms are continuously entering the Alberta market, advertising many years of experience practicing injury law. However, the lawyer or firm may actually have few years of experience practicing injury law in Alberta. The law firm may have a “satellite office” somewhere in Alberta, where the lawyers travel to meet with you. To find out if the lawyer you are considering is licensed to practice in Alberta, and for how long, go to the Law Society of Alberta’s website, and enter their name in the search box.
I hope that the information in this blog helps you decide how you can benefit from your lawyer’s experience. It’s your lawyer’s experience that is going to benefit you. There are many personal injury lawyers in the marketplace that have various levels of experience. When you choose a personal injury lawyer, be sure you understand the lawyer’s level of experience with cases like yours. Relevant injury law experience in Alberta is vital to the successful outcome of your case.