If you’ve been in an accident and now need a personal injury lawyer, you may be curious as to how they became qualified to represent you during negotiations with an insurance agency and in the courtroom. Law is a highly specialized field – and highly respected – but few people truly understand the immense amount of work and practice that goes into becoming a personal injury lawyer. Today, we’ll discuss the educational and professional experiences an attorney undergoes in order to join a personal injury law firm, then explain how you can determine a great personal injury law firm when you’re seeking representation after an accident.
Lawyers are just as highly trained as doctors, and they receive comprehensive training in every aspect of law
In order to become a lawyer, a person must successfully complete a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and pass the bar exam in the state that they’d like to practice in; this may also allow them to practice law in another state should they apply for licensing in their new state.
A law degree is incredibly rigorous, and it encompasses nearly every facet of law in the United States, in order to prepare lawyers to practice in numerous different subfields. This is similar to how doctors will learn about different specialties of medicine during their medical degree, and they will then pick a specialty once they have passed all the necessary exams and become a physician. Some areas of law that a JD degree covers include civil procedure, Constitutional law, contract and property law, torts, criminal law, and law writing and research.
While these are all highly important, those most related to personal injury law are civil procedure, tort law, and legal research and writing. Civil procedure teaches future lawyers the process of filing, researching, and presenting a civil lawsuit, which includes personal injury lawsuits; meanwhile, tort law is the basis for personal injury law, as it covers negligence and liability. Finally, a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law must be very familiar with how to perform legal research and write documents, such as motions, briefs, and memos that will become a part of a case.
And it’s not just sitting in a classroom: most law programs require their students to complete internships where they will learn the ropes from experienced lawyers. They may also have to present practice cases in front of their peers and professors, so that they can refine their courtroom technique before they become fully fledged attorneys.
Those who wish to get into personal injury law have to complete even further training and education
While the training that a person receives in law school helps them fully understand law and all its facets, when it comes to actually becoming a lawyer, most need more specialized training in the specific field of law that they have chosen. Because personal injury has so many different facets, the particulars of this field aren’t usually covered in great detail within the general legal education of a JD program, and the overview provided during a law degree isn’t enough to allow a lawyer to adequately represent a client.
For those who choose to become a Chicago personal injury lawyer, they will have to take additional courses that focus entirely on the specifics of personal injury; they may also have to be credentialed before they can begin working at a law firm. This additional training will cover the different aspects of personal injury law, such as medical malpractice, car accidents, product liability, construction accidents, workers’ compensation, and slip and fall accidents. The aspiring personal injury lawyer will gain an understanding of how these cases work, how to research and present evidence, how to negotiate with insurance companies, and what they will need to prove to the court should they need to file a lawsuit.
Fortunately, there are many highly qualified Chicago personal injury law firms where young lawyers can get a great understanding of what’s necessary to get justice for their clients. But how does an aspiring personal injury lawyer – or a potential personal injury client – know how to identify a great law firm?
Great personal injury law firms have a sterling reputation and great communication
In the legal industry, as with many other fields, reputation is everything. For lawyers, this includes their reputation amongst their peers as fair, honest, and meticulous – and it also includes their reputation with their clients as compassionate, understanding, and highly communicative.
There are many factors which determine whether a law firm is great, but some of the major ones include a proven track record of successful settlements, excellent reviews by previous clients, and additional ratings and accreditation by industry leaders. For example, truly good law firms are rated as Super Lawyers by the company of the same name; this distinction is given to only the top 5% of law firms nationwide, and it encompasses 70 different practice areas. That means that if a personal injury law firm is listed as a Super Lawyer, it is truly in a class of its own amongst its peers, and it definitely deserves a second look when considering potential legal representation.
Becoming a lawyer isn’t easy, and personal injury law is even more difficult. Now that you understand what goes into joining the legal profession, you can better appreciate those who represent you when you’re seeking justice for your injuries.