How to Tell if a Lawyer Is Legitimate?

by Staff | May 10th, 2021

While you might assume that a lawyer with a website and fancy office is legitimate and legally allowed to practice the law, there have been numerous cases where people have posed as lawyers for decades. These fraudulent lawyers have taken clients’ hard-earned money, lost important cases, or made critical mistakes in essential paperwork.

Before meeting a lawyer and agreeing to work with them, it’s essential you do some due diligence to ensure they have all the credentials they claim to. Whether you received a serious injury in a car accident or lost a loved one in an accident and need to file a Wrongful Death lawsuit, it’s essential that you work with a legitimate, experienced lawyer like those at Berg Injury Lawyers.

Why Should You Check a Lawyer’s Credentials?

To become a lawyer, you must attend law school, graduate, and pass the state bar where you plan to practice. Completing law school and proving your knowledge by passing the bar are essential since it demonstrates that a lawyer has a complete understanding of their state’s laws.

If someone claims to be a lawyer but has not gone through this process, it’s unlikely they have the expertise necessary to navigate the court system successfully. They could make significant mistakes, causing you to lose your case while also taking your money.

Another reason to check your lawyer’s background is that many people who lie about being lawyers also lie about other aspects of their lives or participate in identity theft or fraud.

When you work with a lawyer on a personal injury lawsuit, the attorney-client relationship is essential and must be based on trust. If you later learn that your lawyer is fake and has stolen money from you or used your information to take out a line of credit, you may need to enter into another lawsuit or partake in criminal proceedings to protect your finances.

How to Tell if Your Lawyer Is Legitimate?

While checking your lawyer’s legitimacy adds an additional step during an already stressful time in your life, it’s relatively straightforward.

Each state, including California, has a registry of all lawyers who have passed the bar and can legally practice law. When you speak with your lawyer, ask them for their full name, and, if it’s a common name, ask for their state bar number. You can then input their name into the State Bar of California’s Attorney Search engine and confirm that the name your attorney gave you matches the bar number. The search engine gives you their office address, contact information, where they went to law school, and their license status.

If the status of the license states Active, and all the information from the website matches the information your attorney gave you, then your lawyer is likely legitimate. You can also see when the lawyer joined the California bar. If the website states they joined over 20 years ago, but the lawyer appears to be around 35, that could be a sign they are not who they say they are.

Choosing the Right Lawyer

If you need a San Francisco personal injury lawyer, you should do some research to ensure you choose the best lawyer for your needs. First, ensure that the lawyer you choose has experience with similar cases to yours. For example, if you suffered a slip and fall injury at a hotel, ask your lawyer about their experience with those types of cases.

Once you’ve confirmed their experience and legitimacy, schedule a free consultation where you can get to know them. If you’re happy with what you read, schedule a free consultation where you can get to know them. During your meeting, be sure to ask questions. Depending on the case, you could need to work with your lawyer for several years, so you want to make sure you feel comfortable discussing personal matters with them.

Another thing to confirm at your consultation is how you can contact your lawyer with questions or concerns about your case. A legitimate lawyer always makes themselves available to their clients and addresses concerns in a timely manner. 

Work With a Legitimate, Experienced Personal Injury Firm

If you’re in Northern California and require legal advice about an injury you’ve sustained because of someone else’s negligence, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today. With over 35 years of experience, our team can help you navigate the complicated legal process of filing a personal injury claim and get you the compensation you deserve.

We’re happy to provide any information you would like to prove our legitimacy and encourage you to learn more about our qualifications. If you’d like to learn more about us or determine if your situation allows you to file a lawsuit, call us today to arrange a free consultation.