“Tell me the Truth.”
Some folks think they should take their case to a big law firm because they think only the bigger firms can afford to do their case. We won’t flinch at spending whatever it takes to put your case together. No one has ever—or will ever—push us around by outspending us. A word about lawyers and how much it costs to bring a lawsuit:
Winning cases against large companies like FedEx, GlaxoSmithKline, GM, Ford, Caterpillar or doctors and hospitals can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your lawyer should front the money for investigations, scientific tests, expert witnesses and other case preparation and trial costs. Your lawyer will be paid back when you are paid.
Many people think the bigger the law firm the more money they will recover. However, that is not necessarily true. Big law firms often take on more cases than they can carefully handle. We never take on more clients then we have time to represent right.
Before you hire a lawyer, you should ask about the lawyer’s trial record. Many lawyers who advertise have never tried a case. Of those who have, very few have ever tried a case where millions of dollars were at stake.
We understand that navigating the legal system can be confusing and complicated.
Seven Questions You Should Ask Any Lawyer you Are Considering Hiring for a Case with Substantial Injury or Death.
There are many important questions you should ask when searching for a lawyer to handle your case.
At the very least, you should ask the following:
1. Have you ever gone to trial in a case like mine? How many times?
This is important because when insurance companies evaluate a case, they find out if your lawyer is really a trial lawyer. They rate lawyers on whether they have trial experience, what their trial win/loss record is, and if he or she is the kind of lawyer who will actually “take a case to verdict,” meaning, “Will he or she go to trial if we don’t settle?” Good trial records drive higher settlements.
2. Have you ever had a million dollar verdict? How many?
A verdict does not mean settlement. Ask the lawyer about verdicts because if the defendant decides to take your case to trial, you want to know if your lawyer has tried such a case and the outcome.
3. Do you have the financial resources to start and finish my lawsuit?
This is important if your lawyer is paying the costs of your case up front. We do. Lawsuits cost a lot of money. Your lawyer can either spend what it takes to ensure that your case is fully prepared or s/he can be cheap and not spend money on areas that would help your case. The Fitzgerald Law Firm will spend the amount of money necessary to prepare the case to the fullest.
4. Doesn’t every lawyer have the resources to take big cases?
People sometimes say something like, “Well, so and so is a lawyer. He must have the money to do my case.”
Frequently that’s not true. It often takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to do a case against a major manufacturer, hospital, trucking company, or the like. That’s because your lawyer must hire specialists in the field in question. That could include engineers, medical experts, economists, life care planners, physical medicine doctors and others. They all charge by the hour. So do your doctors when we interview them or call them as witnesses. It takes money to travel to the location of witnesses to take their depositions or to company headquarters or branches to take testimony. It takes money to prepare illustrations for trial.
The defendant is going to hire all the expert witnesses it wants to fight your case. You need a lawyer who can do the same. Not all lawyers can. It is easy to think that if a lawyer has a license to practice and is in law practice, s/he must have the resources. Frankly, many lawyers lack those resources.
5. Has your work ever been published?
Jim and Sharon Fitzgerald have numerous published works, in Law books, case reports and articles.
6. Have you ever been invited to speak at a professional meeting?
All the lawyers in the firm have spoken at continuing legal education events. Jim Fitzgerald has made many such presentations.
7. What is your Martindale-Hubble rating?
Martindale-Hubble is a legal directory. Lawyers, and more important, Judges rate lawyers’ legal ability and ethical standards. The Fitzgerald Law Firm has the highest Martindale-Hubble rating. In addition, the firm is listed in Martindale-Hubble’s registry of Preeminent Lawyers, which relatively few firms attain.
Martindale-Hubble Rating System, as stated by the publication:
This rating comes from judges and peer-review, where lawyers in the community and state rate one another based on general ethical standards and legal ability. Legal Ability Ratings take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer’s expertise and other professional qualifications.
The General Ethical Standards Rating:
V- Very High
A lawyer must receive a General Ethical Standards Rating before his or her review can proceed to the next step.
Legal Ability Ratings are:
C – Good to High
B – High to Very High
A – Very High to Preeminent
When both categories of Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are confirmed, a lawyer receives no rating or a CV®, BC®, or AV® Rating. Through this system, defendants can determine very quickly whether or not their lawyer can bring cases to trial. Our attorneys are all AV® Rated.