When most people want to hire an attorney the first thing they do is open up the Yellow Pages and scan through hundreds (if not thousands) of attorney names or ask a friend for a referral.
That is not a good way to hire an attorney.
First, any attorney willing to pay for it can have his name and picture blown up as big as he or she would like. There is no official ranking system or gauge to determine which of the numerous attorneys is the most capable for the price they are charging.
Second, when you ask a friend to refer an attorney you are really narrowing the field of potential candidates to individuals your friend may know.
In most instances, when an attorney refers you to another attorney he is paid a fee for the referral. Money can really influence who gets the referral. Again, there is still no ranking system or gauge.
The best way to find an attorney is to go to martindale.com. Martindale-Hubbell has a system of ranking attorneys and groups attorneys into city and area of practice.
An AV rating is the highest rating an attorney can receive. It is a big deal in the legal profession to have Martindal-Hubbell rank an attorney as AV.
The next ranking is BV, then CV and so on. Martindale-Hubbell will also tell you whether an attorney is trial certified. This means the attorney has actually conducted numerous trials and has met certain other important criteria.
This can be a benefit to you for purposes of settling your case prior to trial because non-trial certified attornies are often reluctant to take a case to trial against an attorney who is certified.