What online reviews can (and can’t) tell you about a lawyer

When the average person needs legal help, it’s hard to know where to turn. Selecting an attorney to represent you during your most vulnerable time is a major decision. You want to find someone you can trust with the details of your case and knows exactly how to navigate law.

Increasingly, people in need of legal advice are turning to the internet to research potential lawyers. In addition to a firm’s official website, you might browse what their clients really think in candid online reviews. Although they can never guarantee the quality of service ahead of time, reviews can tip you off to some very important factors.

Punctuality

Missing deadlines is one of the most common legal malpractice violations. Lawyers need to stay on top of their caseload to ensure that every client receives appropriate attention and care. Unhappy customers will likely leave low ratings if their attorney destroyed their claim by ignoring a statute of limitations. Furthermore, good lawyers should be reasonably available to communicate through phone, email or in-person meetings.

Track record for similar cases

You may also consider the specialty of the firm. If you want a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of filing bankruptcy, for example, you should look for reviews that mention how the attorney managed other bankruptcy cases. However, if you find yourself scrolling through a sea of divorce cases, that firm may not be right for you.

Personality

A personal connection is a key part of the legal experience for many people. Online reviews will most certainly mention the lawyer’s unique style. Some lawyers are so-called “sharks” who take an aggressive approach. Reviews may describe other lawyers as “caring,” applauding their compassion and ability to listen. Depending on your preferences, you might choose to work with one attorney over another.

However, no online review will tell you the future. Even five-star attorneys could become over-confident and negligent. Despite spending hours conducting research, you could still end up with an unprofessional lawyer who makes serious errors in your case.

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