Hiring a professional of any type is a process and that process changes with the times. As a young lawyer (pre-internet), referrals from other attorneys was the primary method for establishing relationships with new clients. Nowadays, the primary method seems to start with a Google search. It is very simple to find attorneys, but not so simple to find the right attorney for you. Unfortunately, there is very little benchmarking when it comes to lawyers, and most other professionals too for that matter.
I am proud to have been selected as an AV rated preeminent attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, and listed among the PA Super Lawyers for many years. That is a type of benchmarking, but what does it really mean for you? Not much. When selecting an attorney, benchmarking is a start, but the most important step is actual communication. Don’t buy the milk until you have actually spoken to the cow and made an educated decision about how the milk will taste and what it will cost. I am always willing to discuss a potential representation, including both strategic and budgetary considerations. I would never hire a professional of any type who wanted me to commit to paying a fee before committing to me that I will benefit from the service. That requires an actual dialog. To be crystal clear, I do not want to represent anyone unless and until I have determined that I can provide a service that will help them. I do not accept a retainer until we have crossed that threshold. The goal is to have satisfied clients whose legal goals and objectives are met. The attorney with the most awards on display may or may not be the best fit. Start with benchmarking, but finish the process with careful and considered communication.