Yes, lawyer credentials DO matter when looking for the best lawyers. A profile page online for an attorney can only say so much, you need to do a little work to find the best attorney for your case – and it’s worth it!
All Lawyers Are NOT Created Equal
Aside from the obvious differences in experience and verdicts won, there are plenty of other things that can set lawyers apart. Two personal injury lawyers who went to the same law school and passed the bar exam with the same score can be completely different in how they approach cases.
For example, saying I’m a Fairfax personal injury attorney is a very broad term; all that says is that I handle cases of negligence in Fairfax in which people got hurt. What it doesn’t say is that I focus my practice on personal injury, ERISA law, medical malpractice, and certain other areas of law.
I spent many years after graduating law school honing my skills in tort litigation and focusing on ERISA law to get where I am today. Any lawyer that takes your case should have the same dedication to his or her area of law.
A Lawyer’s Reputation is Important in Court
Let’s say you found the best lawyer’s profile page after seeing his or her website on the bottom of a TV commercial. The reason you remembered the ad was because it was eye-catching and silly; the lawyer was fighting a tiger saying he or she will "tame the insurance companies" and win your settlement. It was memorable enough to make you look up the attorney, and you make the hire.
Months later, you’re sitting in court with Mr. Tiger Tamer before a local jury arguing your accident case. The same lawyer ad was probably seen by several of the jurors, and that wacky ad may make a not-so-professional impression on those jurors.
I’m not saying that every jury will be swayed by your lawyer’s reputation, but having an attorney with a bad or unprofessional status isn’t going to help matters. On the flip side, don’t trust lawyers who tell you that the insurance companies fear them and will settle at the mere mention of their name. While insurance companies do know which lawyers take cases to trial, each case is settled based on individual circumstances, not which attorney you hire.