While we all know that we will one day have to settle our parents’ estate or purchase property, most other needs for legal representation comes as a result of an unexpected incident. It could be a case of roadway negligence or a defective product, but whatever the source of our case, we likely did not see it coming. As a result, we may rush into a decision about our legal representation. This can end up haunting us for years to come.
Making a good choice of lawyer means thinking about that decision before we have to make it. No one hopes to suffer a loss due to someone else’s mistake, but we compound our loss if we aren’t prepared to work effectively to recover from it.
Choosing a legal firm to help in these situations is almost always best done with an established local firm. While new practices may tout a successful track record in another city as they try to stake a claim in your area, that may make them the wrong choice for you.
Consider these factors that give the edge to a hometown attorney.
Understanding Local Situations
Just as the work falls into different subject matter areas, it also ends up in different geographic areas. And those differences in location yield differences in case types and circumstances.
For example, Jacoby & Meyers is able to deftly manage cases involving accidents on L.A.’s endless network of freeways because they’ve worked so many similar ones. They understand the city’s traffic patterns, driving trends, and roadway laws.
On the other hand, a Texas firm will understand the ins and outs of workers’ compensation claims in the oil field or liability for escaped livestock.
Knowing the Local Judiciary
Despite the formality of courtroom proceedings, attorneys and judges have a very different relationship after adjournment. They may socialize together, share hobbies, or do pro bono work with a local legal aid group. They may have even gone to law school together.
And while there’s no reason to assume such a connection could yield an advantage in terms of the judge’s discretion on the case, what is clear is that an attorney will understand a judge’s train of thought. Having presented many cases before him or her, a lawyer knows how cases are won and lost there. That can yield priceless dividends for barristers as they formulate strategies for your case, dividends that won’t accrue for a new face.
Few businesses instill the same type of loyalty that legal practices do. The firm that helped your grandfather get proper compensation for a workplace injury in 1973 will always be held in high regard by your family.
So a successful firm should have hundreds of other such stories. And if that’s the case, why would they relocate? A legal practice that has operated in a town for 50 or 60 years should have no reason to seek a new city. But a less reputable firm can finally create enough ill will among clients and judges that they cannot operate effectively in the same town. As a result, a firm that abruptly pulled up stakes and came to your city–via relocation, not expansion–likely encountered some problems at their old location and needed a fresh start.
This article was written by Jenna Brown. Jenna is a freelance writer who has been blogging on random topics from law to business since her days in college, feel free to e-mail her if you would ever like to have her write for you!