Picking a Law Firm

adobe_acrobat_icon To download a PDF of the newsletter, click here.

We recognize that selecting a law firm can be a difficult and stressful event. Finding representation with the right set of skills and experience can be the most important decision you and your business make this year.

Here at Patton Sullivan Brodehl LLP, we don’t pretend to be the right fit for every case. We’re a boutique firm with deep expertise in complex commercial litigation; intellectual property matters; land use, country club, real estate and construction law.

Whether your situation involves defending a lawsuit or seeking a favorable resolution to a dispute, we can help shape a strategy the gives you the best chance for success, whether that means mediation, arbitration or litigation.

There are many excellent law firms in the Bay Area. So how do you find the one that’s best for your situation?

First, don’t be swayed by the advertising campaign. Some law firms do elaborate television campaigns; some focus on online or directory advertising. All that tells us is the size of their advertising budget.

There are a number of independent sources for referrals, from the local and state bar associations to national evaluation services like Martindale Hubbell.

All of these can play a role in the effective search, but nothing is more important than a personal referral. Ask your friends and business associates for recommendations. Do your own online research to assure yourself that the experience matches your needs and there’s a record of success with similar cases and clients you know and respect.

Finally, make sure the firm is a good fit for you.

Call for an initial appointment and keep a close eye on how you are treated. Is the call answered and handled efficiently? If a call back is needed, was it arranged quickly? Was an appointment scheduled in quick order? You shouldn’t have to wait more than a few days. And an initial consultation, at which the attorney is evaluating both the merits of your case and whether your situation is a good fit for the firm’s time, shouldn’t be expensive.

Look for the human dynamic. Is the office staff friendly, helpful and engaged? Did you have the attorney’s full attention? Did the attorney provide solid and knowledgeable feedback? Does this feel like a team that will be responsive to your needs?

Don’t be hesitant to ask about fees. Some fees may be quotes on a per hour basis; other cases may be best served by a contingency fee in which the attorney accepts a percentage of the settlement payable only if the matter is resolved successfully. If after the initial meeting, you decide to move forward, a retainer agreement should spell out costs, rights and responsibilities of both parties. And that agreement should be written in clear and common language, not legalese.

We want you to become another satisfied client and our promise is to do our best to achieve that outcome.

Back to Resources