The Maryland Litigation Blog

Facts and Opinions.
Feel free to disregard the opinions.

How Can I Find Out How Good a Lawyer Is?

By Byron Warnken

I’ve been asked this question before many times.  For so long, I said, simply, reputation. However, reputation is such a loose concept.  Reputation according to whom?

For a long time, when someone I know needs an out-of-state lawyer, and I don’t know anyone personally, I recommend this approach:

  1. Call up to five lawyers, in the immediate geographic area you need, whom you know do not practice in the area of law you need.
  2. Ask for referrals to lawyers who can help with your specific situation.
  3. Any lawyer whose name you hear multiple times is your likely candidate.
  4. Search that lawyer and skim the first two pages of results.
  5. If you are comfortable with what you read, call the attorney to make sure you are comfortable one-on-one, make sure the attorney promptly returns the phonecall, and make sure it feels like a fit.
  6. If at any point, you need to go back a few steps, do so.

This method means it might take an hour or two to find a lawyer.  If you are like me, you feel that time is worth money.  Selecting a lawyer is important.  You should do whatever research is necessary to find the right attorney for you.

Getting the question: “How do I know how good a lawyer is?” was one of the things that prompted me to start  Reputation is still vital, no question.  Over time, other lawyers get to know your lawyer’s character, skills, and ability.  To a large degree, they know if a lawyer is good.

However, reputation is also based on likability, personal relationships, and bias.  Factors that won’t help you win your case, and could, in fact, be detrimental.  Reputation and facts must go hand in hand.  Good lawyers, especially good personal injury lawyers, know this.  Facts are why lawyers post their biggest settlements and judgements on their websites.  Reputation must be coupled with facts.

Injury Lawyer Database takes this to a new level.  The Maryland Judiciary (The Court System) keeps records of cases.  This includes lawyer experience and lawyer results.  It also includes defendants against whom lawyers have experience.  The cases are published on MD Judiciary Case Search.  We “scraped” those results, thereby obtaining the data that case search had. We then used the data to programmatically create real statistics on injury lawyers.  To read more, see our case search blog post here.

We want to answer the question like this:

Want to know how good a lawyer is, look at the data.  Or as Joe Friday might have said, “Just the Facts, Ma’am.”

Facts are available in this day and age and, more importantly, facts are vital in this day and age.  In a low trust world, real displays of results are worth their weight in gold.  When a lawyer doesn’t need to stick out his chest and thump, “I am the best,” we’re all better off.  When the lawyer can simply say, “My results speak for themselves, and here they are,” consumers win.  Educated consumers make good decisions.


Maryland Case Search

By Byron Warnken

The Maryland Judiciary, in 2004, became one of the more progressive state judicial branches in the country via its use of technology.  In October of 2004, Maryland Rules 16-1001 through 16-1011 were enacted.  Records of Maryland cases went online.  The website is officially called “Maryland Judiciary Case Search.”  It is known to residents and lawyers […]

An Attorney Can’t Say He’s the Best

By Byron Warnken

In Maryland, Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1 states, “A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.  A communication is false or misleading if it: … compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyer’s services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.” I believe stating, “I am the […]

Deception or Truth as a Business Plan

By Byron Warnken

100 years ago, marketing involved truth.  Sales involved truth.  It had to.  The relationship was one-to-one.  Buyer and seller looked each other in the eye.  The shopkeeper or farmer or salesman talked to the customer individually.  Yes, the marketer could lie, but only for a time and only to so many people.  Eventually, deception and […]