Best Lawyers?

A leading national legal journal recently released the staggering statistic that there are currently more than 1,200 “best-lawyer lists” in circulation.

How do you get to be considered a “best of the best?”

In the days before lawyer advertising was legitimized by the United States Supreme Court the main standards for evaluating lawyers to rank among the best qualified attorneys in the profession was word of mouth, courtroom victories, or securing an “AV rating” in the Martindale Hubbell Directory for legal ability and ethics. Elections to membership in prestigious honoraries such as the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers was considered a high honor because it was a selection by your peers who had tried cases both with and against the nominee.

Buying a set of directories, a $350.00 plaque, special listings or other suggested purchases to get nominated for membership were not required.

Each week our firm’s lawyers receive several opportunities to be listed as amongst the “best” by a new lawyer list. The cost to be selected or remain on the list is usually a minimum of around $250.00 up to $3,000.00 but you do get a plaque to hang on your wall that no potential client ever examines or ask an attorney to explain its meaning.

Although some assert that selection is by “peer review” (fellow lawyers) the depth of said inquiry is often questionable.

Most trial lawyers have big enough egos to succumb to the temptation to be able to state that they have acquired the “best” designation in order to remain competitive in this day of media blitzes in the legal field.

The attorneys at Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers, P.C. have been included in many of those “best-lawyer lists” but it is not by paying for the listing.

  • Check the reputation of the attorneys or law firm with other members of the community;
  • Contact both an advertising and non-advertising law firm or attorney for a free consultation before you make a choice on the very important decision that may affect your freedom or opportunity to get adequately compensated for an injury;
  • Ignore stick radio or television commercials that make claims about how successful the attorneys have been or use some outlandish other gimmick or statement;
  • Don’t pick a lawyers in a criminal case based solely on the recommendation of a jailer, trustee or bail bondsman;
  • There are good lawyers that do advertise on television or radio but those attorneys usually merely state their interests and backgrounds and do not try to brag about their “big” cases or boast about their accomplishments.

There are many other criteria that should be examined before you make the important decision of which attorney or law firm you want to represent you or your family in a serious legal matter.

A well-written and glowing television or radio commercial should be just one of those selected criteria to consider.

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