Understanding the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

wrongful death cases, particularly those with expertise in vehicular crashes. Hold out for someone with the kind of legal experience you are seeking. Additionally, think carefully before you hire a friend or family member, even if they have the legal expertise that you are seeking. While they may have a greater interest in the case than a stranger, it may be difficult to maintain an appropriate attorney client relationship. Will you be comfortable telling your uncle that you disagree with his settlement recommendations? Will you feel embarrassed if you have to call with questions? Seek recommendations from someone you know to have good judgment or who has had a good experience using an attorney in a similar case. Here are some places to find • Other Attorneys • Bar Associations • Martindale-Hubbell Directory Initial Calls As you call firms from your list, briefly describe your situation and then ask if the attorney has more experience representing plaintiffs or defendants. You will generally want a plaintiff’s lawyer, but having some experience on the other side can also be useful. Ask what percentage of his/her cases settle before going to trial. This will help you assess how much trial experience he/ she has. Of the cases that have gone to trial, how many has he/she won and lost. If you are satisfied with the answers to these questions, ask for a consultation interview. Ask if there will be a fee for the referrals for civil attorneys: • MADD Victim Advocate


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