Even before COVID 19, in many of the cases we get involved with, the client and the attorney never meet face to face. In some cases that’s because the client lives out of state but was hurt in Illinois. In others it’s because we email paperwork to sign up and the handling attorney and injured worker communicate via phone, email and text. As long as the client is happy that makes sense. Of course if there was going to be a court hearing, the client would come in to the office to prepare for trial with whichever attorney is handling their case.
In my experience and that of the attorneys throughout Illinois that I work with, as long as the injured worker is happy then we will work with you however you prefer. Some injured workers want to be able to go see a lawyer in person, others don’t care.
With the quarantine, most people are choosing to limit their travel and face to face interactions. We all know about precautions you can make if you do come in to an office such as wear a mask, not get too close, etc. You can also obviously have a Zoom meeting with a lawyer if that makes you comfortable. I encourage you to do so if you can.
For some people though, they want to look you in the eye, in person. That’s a reasonable want, but in most cases it’s not possible right now. So how do you judge a lawyer’s character when you can’t be face to face. Here are some thoughts:
- Do they seem to have no time for you on that first phone call? That’s a bad sign. Not to say you should be on the phone with them for an hour, but if they are rushing you when they are making a sales pitch as to why you should hire them, then they probably won’t make time for you after you are signed up.
- Ask about their firm’s plan right now and for when things open back up. If they don’t have one, again it’s a red flag.
- Find out how many attorneys are in their office. If it’s only one that might be reason to be concerned especially if they are older. Coronavirus tends to knock you out for a while. If they don’t have a team in place and get sick, it’s their clients who will suffer.
- Nothing to do with the virus, but find out how many cases the attorney has taken to trial in the last year. If it’s less than ten, it’s a bad sign.
- Ask what they can do for you now when the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is closed. If they have no plan, it’s a bad sign.
- Beyond all of this, for most firms you are getting an answering service right now. If you don’t get a quick call back right away, you should worry.
For us and many others, lawyers are in the office and taking calls directly when the phone rings. We don’t promise to tell you what you want to hear, but always tell the truth. If you would like a free consultation, contact us at any time.