How Can I Choose a Good Civil Court Lawyer?

February 8, 2023 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff | Tips & Information

How Can I Choose a Good Civil Court Lawyer?

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, it’s a good idea to find a good civil court lawyer. But just because someone went to law school and passed the bar exam doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for you and your personal injury case.

Although choosing a good civil court lawyer is a somewhat subjective process, there are a number of concrete characteristics you can look for in an attorney for a civil lawsuit.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Civil Court?

Deciding whether to hire an attorney for a civil lawsuit is not necessarily a simple yes or no question.

Technically, you can elect to represent yourself in a civil case. However, you should be aware that the insurance company representatives and opposition lawyers involved in the case will be experienced negotiators. So you should closely consider whether you have sufficient negotiating skills to work out a fair settlement for your injuries.

In addition, the legal process is complex. Most civil cases settle out of court, but it’s wise to be prepared if your case goes to trial. If it did, would you be ready to navigate the intricacies of courtroom procedure?

If your injuries are substantial enough to warrant significant compensation, it’s most likely worthwhile to hire a civil court attorney.

What Should I Look for in a Civil Court Lawyer?

Most law firms, including Chain | Cohn | Clark, offer a free initial consultation. So there’s no risk to you in talking to two or three law firms to find one that’s a good fit for you and your case—just like you might talk to a few contractors before hiring one to fix something in your house.

Look for the following characteristics as you talk to each firm.

Do They Have Experience in Your Specific Case Area?

Because the law is broad and complex, lawyers, like doctors, specialize in particular areas of practice. If you’re having a baby, you need an obstetrician, not a podiatrist. If you were injured in an auto accident, you won’t get the best representation from a civil trial lawyer who specializes in family law. Make sure your attorney has experience handling cases like yours.

What Kind of Interpersonal Skills Do They Have?

As your case moves forward, you’ll interact frequently with your civil trial attorney and their staff. If they come across as aloof or look down on you in your initial consultation, you can expect the same treatment as your case unfolds. More importantly, if your civil action lawyer doesn’t empathize with you, can you reasonably expect them to convince a jury to empathize with you and award you damages?

How Do Their Communication Skills Measure Up?

A respectful civil court lawyer will take the time to answer your questions using language that you can understand, not complicated legal jargon. If a potential lawyer communicates well with you, you can be confident they’ll communicate well with insurance company representatives, opposing counsel, judge, and jury—interactions that are critical to you receiving the compensation you deserve.

What Is the Firm’s Fee Structure?

Most personal injury law firms operate on a contingency basis. That means that you don’t pay anything up front; the civil court lawyer is paid only if you win a settlement or trial. Their pay is typically a small percentage of the damages you’re awarded.

This means it should be a red flag if a law firm asks for money up front or can’t explain their fee structure in a sentence or two.

What Kind of Resources Does the Firm Have?

The best civil court lawyers are always well-prepared. To successfully advocate for your cause, your lawyer needs to know every detail of your case and prepare strategies for settlement negotiations and a potential trial. Find out if the law firms you’re considering have the resources to thoroughly investigate your case, hire expert witnesses, and advocate passionately for your interests.

Does the Lawyer Have a Record of Success?

No lawyer can honestly guarantee a large settlement or a win in court, but a good civil court lawyer should be able to point you to examples of past successes, including substantial settlements and wins in jury trials.

How Can I Check Up on a Law Firm?

Although you can tell a lot about a firm from their website and your initial consultation, it’s a good idea to seek out additional confirmation that a civil court lawyer you’re considering is trustworthy.

  • Talk to multiple firms. This will give you a personal point of comparison between firms.
  • Talk to previous clients. Ask if there are any previous clients with whom you can talk. Hearing about a potential lawyer from a client’s perspective might help you see things in a new light.
  • Check independent reviews. The testimonials on a firm’s website are useful, but they’re also curated by the firm’s staff. Check out what people have to say about the firm on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

Kern County’s Leading Personal Injury Law Firm

Established in 1934, Chain | Cohn | Clark has nearly ninety years of history in Kern County. From its inception to today, the firm has been deeply rooted in the Bakersfield community. Our lawyers are not only active in the community, many of them also grew up here and graduated from local high schools.

Our local character means we know the ins and outs of the Kern County legal system—local judges respect our civil court attorneys, and opposing counselors know that we’re always prepared to take a case to trial if necessary.

Chain | Cohn | Clark’s personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay anything unless we win your case. One of our lawyers will work with you from your initial consultation all the way to settlement or the conclusion of a trial. And as a 24-hour firm, we always have someone available to answer your questions.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, the civil court lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark are available to help as you recover.Contact us today for a free consultation.