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Avoiding Unethical Lawyers in Nevada

For many people, suffering an injury is the first time in their lives when they need to talk to a lawyer. Driving through Las Vegas it’s hard to miss the billboards from attorneys who promise quick results and huge payouts for injured clients. For every “billboard” law firm there are dozens of others vying for new clients. Adding to the confusion are outfits that prey on the desperate circumstances of people who have been injured by offering pre-settlement loans, sometimes at high interest rates. All of this, combined with the stress and challenges of recovering from an injury, can be confusing. Having the help of an ethical law firm is essential for clients who are trying to make sense of it all. Avoiding an unethical lawyer can be a simple matter of instinct. Sometimes an attorney will offer something that sounds too good to be true. But it’s always a good idea to do a little research and analysis before working with an attorney, especially if the attorney isn’t one that was recommended by a trusted friend. There are a number of ways to examine whether an attorney is ethical:
  • A clean bar profile. A simple step is to search for the attorney on the Nevada State Bar Association’s website. Every licensed attorney’s status and disciplinary history is available on the site for the public to examine. If an attorney has been censured by the bar for unethical behavior, that should serve as a red flag.
  • Willingness to provide free, substantive consultations. Free initial consultations are a staple of personal injury practice. An initial consultation serves numerous purposes, the most important being to help the client get a feel for the options available for their case. A consultation also helps both the client and the law firm decide if the firm is the right fit for what the client needs. An attorney who doesn’t provide free consultations may be a good lawyer who simply has a different business model, but for many injured clients the free initial consultation is key part of their process of evaluating a potential attorney. Clients shouldn’t have to pay for this step.
  • Clarity about process or fees. An ethical attorney will be up-front with new clients about how the case will be handled by the firm and how the firm will be paid. The attorney should provide a clear, written statement of how fees and expenses will be paid. If the client will be asked to assume certain costs, such as the fees for expert witnesses, that should be stated at the outset of the engagement. A lawyer who draws in clients with promises of low fees and huge awards, but who springs inflated expenses on the client at the end of the process, is not acting in an ethical manner.
  • Putting the client first. An attorney’s obligation is to provide rigorous, passionate representation of the whole client. Among other things, this means that the relationship between the attorney needs to be about more than just money. The attorney needs to be a careful, thoughtful listener. Many law firms operate as “litigation shops,” which try to earn money for their partners by doing high volume, low quality work. Clients of these types of firms may have difficulty getting personal attention from their attorneys, who are busy chasing down new clients rather than serving the needs of their existing ones.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. We are proud of our long tradition of thoughtful, caring service to each and every client. If you have been injured and you have questions about how to pursue a case, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or through our website.

How to Choose a Nevada Personal Injury Law Firm

After being injured in an accident, choosing the right attorney can feel like picking from a hat. There are dozens of personal injury law firms in the Las Vegas area alone. Anyone who has driven through Las Vegas has seen the barrage of billboards from lawyers looking for clients. A similar barrage is found across the media spectrum, from radio and television to the Internet. In the face of this flood of information (and misinformation) it is important to refocus on the things that really matter when it comes to choosing an attorney.
  1. Personal service. Some law firms have adopted a “high volume” approach to litigation. Such firms hope to make more money for their partners by adopting a standardized, impersonal process for each client. At GGRM we believe that a quality law firm treats each client with the respect and attention they deserve. Someone who is dealing with a serious injury probably has a wide range of related problems that are adding to the stress of being hurt. To really serve the client’s interests an attorney has to take time to tailor legal strategies around the personal needs of the client. That means taking the time to get to know the client, treating the client like a person and not like a number.
  2. Experience. The difference between a relatively junior attorney and one with experience can be enormous. Mastering the procedural components of litigation is only part of the process of becoming a competent attorney. A seasoned litigator knows how to craft arguments that anticipate the other side’s strategies and frame the debate in a favorable light.
  3. Resources. Personal injury litigation can sometimes require sophisticated outside resources, like expert witnesses. It also requires a quality team of professionals within the firm, such as experienced paralegals. A common misconception is that only the largest firms have access to these resources. The truth is that even small firms can have a deep pool of resources available to support a client’s case. Part of developing those resources comes through a firm’s experience, but it also comes from a willingness to invest in the case.
  4. Fee structure. Law firms charge clients in a variety of ways. A typical personal injury case is taken on contingency, which means the firm doesn’t get paid until it has reached a favorable outcome for the client. Not all contingency fee arrangements are created equal. Some firms try to pass on costs to clients regardless of the outcome of the case, and many firms charge exceptionally high fees even for cases that are fairly straightforward. An ethical firm not only explains in detail how its contingency fee arrangements work, but also works hard to keep its costs under control.
The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented injured clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. We are proud of our long-standing tradition of providing high quality, personalized service to our clients. Call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.