How to Choose a Birth Injury Lawyer

Nationwide Cerebral Palsy Resource Network

You may have a preconceived notion about attorneys. In televised broadcasts, movies, programs, and in news reports, lawyers are often depicted inside the courtroom – either questioning a witness, speaking expressively to a client, or conferring with the judge, perhaps – as they prosecute or defend a case. Their roles and personas are magnified and, in effect, fictionalized.

In reality, the majority of a lawyer’s work is conducted outside the courthouse. The goal of nearly every attorney, particularly those engaged in correcting shocking professional and social wrongs, is to provide the best possible assistance to each client.  Lawyers research every possible source of information, mediate to reach consensual outcomes in appropriate situations, conduct depositions to gather information, create legal documents, file motions, and litigate cases to obtain justice for their clients.

When Should A Parent Contact A Cerebral Palsy Attorney? from The CP Lawyer | Stern Law, PLLC on Vimeo.

At Stern Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing legal services to those impacted by birth injuries. The dedicated and compassionate professional personnel at Stern Law, PLLC will answer your questions, guide you through the process, and do everything possible to obtain the resources necessary to provide your child with the best life possible. Please call (800)462-5772 for a free case evaluation. 

Advantages of hiring a lawyer concentrating in one area of the law

The law is so broad and expansive that lawyers, much like doctors, have focused areas of concentration or interest. Medical malpractice is a sub-section of general negligence law. Medical malpractice lawyers may then concentrate even more and focus specifically on birth injury work.

Hiring a lawyer who concentrates in the type of law that a client requires has many advantages. These focused attorneys:

  • Understand what you are experiencing and can help you through the process;
  • Are versed in the highly technical nature of that field;
  • Have the resources necessary to develop the client’s case;
  • Have experience with successful litigation within that concentration;
  • Have access to a group of qualified experts to research, consult, and testify on your behalf;
  • Are familiar with the defense tactics utilized by the opposing legal teams;
  • Are familiar with case law and nuances of court proceedings for that type of litigation;
  • Are familiar with settlement arguments and strategies common to the specific concentration.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Birth Injury Lawyer? from The CP Lawyer | Stern Law, PLLC on Vimeo.

Qualities to look for in a law firm

When considering a legal firm that focuses on birth injuries, consider:

  • Age of the law firm;
  • Turnover of lawyers at the firm;
  • Types of services provided at the firm;
  • Reputation of the firm within the community;
  • Reputation of the firm within the legal industry;
  • Reputation of the firm within the medical malpractice field;
  • Rate of successful litigation of court cases;
  • Rate of successful settlement of legal issues;
  • Average time it takes to litigate medical malpractice cases;
  • Average award per case.

Qualities to look for in a lawyer

There are ten qualities to look for in a lawyer who focuses on birth injuries.  Those qualities are:

  • Education – What degree does the lawyer hold? From what institution? When was it obtained?
  • Licensed – In what jurisdiction(s) is the lawyer licensed? Is the license up-to-date and current? How long has the lawyer been licensed? Is the lawyer licensed in the jurisdiction where the complaint is to be filed?
  • Experienced – How many years has the lawyer been in practice? What is his focus? How experienced is the lawyer in birth injury litigation?
  • Success record – How many birth injury cases has the lawyer handled? Of those cases, how many settled? How many went to trial? Of those that went to trial, how many verdicts were awarded to the plaintiff? What is the average settlement obtained (if settled)? What is the average award obtained (if litigated)?
  • Focused and knowledgeable – What makes the lawyer knowledgeable on the topic? Does a desire for justice motivate his concentration on birth injury litigation? What makes him good at what he does? What sets him apart from other lawyers in the field? Why does he believe he is the right choice to represent this particular case? Where did the lawyer obtain his knowledge about birth injury? Has he ever published any industry articles or books? Has he ever been called upon to testify or educate legislative members on a topic in their field?
  • Standing with the state bar association – Is the lawyer in good standing with the state bar association(s) with which he holds a license? Has he ever been sanctioned or disciplined in the legal field? Has he ever committed a crime or had charges filed against him?
  • Ethics – Is the lawyer respected by his peers? Does he conduct his business in a professional, ethical manner? Has he ever been involved in an ethics inquiry?
  • Leadership within the firm – What position does he hold in his firm? How long has he been with his firm? Does he intend to leave his firm? If he does leave his firm, what will happen to the case? Does he have adequate talent, resources, and capital to handle the case? Will he personally handle the child’s case? Will you be able to interact with the lawyer directly during the litigation process? How active will the lawyer be in the case?
  • Respected by peers – Has he ever received any accolades from his peers? Has he ever been rated amongst his peers by an industry organization? Has he conducted any seminars in their field? Does he regularly attend conferences? To what groups and associations does the attorney belong?
  • Persistence - How does the lawyer describe his approach in representing clients? How does that set him apart from other lawyers in the field? To what extra lengths will he go to protect your child’s rights? How aggressive is he in court? How determined? How professional?

Experience to consider in a lawyer

Successful experience in birth injury litigation is important in representing a new client and shepherding him or her through the legal process. Factors to discover about a lawyer before hiring them may include:

  • Length of time practicing birth injury litigation;
  • Number of cases handled in birth injury litigation;
  • Percent and number of cases the lawyer has successfully litigated within the court system;
  • Percent and number of cases the lawyer has successfully settled outside of court;
  • Average award for cases settled and for cases litigated;
  • The average case value the lawyer assesses the client’s case;
  • The lawyer’s fee structure and payment requirements for litigating, or settling, a case;
  • The percentage of time that the lawyer, as opposed to his staff, intends to personally spend on the case;
  • Whether the lawyer intends to refer the client’s case to be handled by another lawyer and, if so, will he remain involved and accept full responsibility for the client’s case.

Since lawsuits can span a number of years, it may be beneficial to know if the lawyer is planning to remain with the firm for the duration of the case. If not, how will the case be handled? It is also helpful for the client to know who will assist the lawyer with the case and the amount of interaction required between support staff and client. The client should inquire about the amount of time the lawyer will spend on the case.

An initial consultation may be scheduled with more than one lawyer in order for the client to evaluate which lawyer will best meet his or her needs. While an initial consultation is usually free of charge, clients may wish to inquire about fees and expectations for the initial consult – when an appointment is made.

Contracting a lawyer is much like forming a partnership – active participation is necessary on both sides.  The responsibility falls on both parties to maintain productive communication and a professional attorney-client relationship.

To find out if contracting Stern Law, PLLC may benefit your case, please call (800)462-5772 for free.