When people need to hire a lawyer, especially if they are hiring one who only gets paid if they win, they usually want the best one. We’ve written before about how there is not a “best” but the best one for you. Sometimes that’s us and other times it’s someone else.
But a reader recently asked me who the best workers compensation lawyer in Schaumburg is. The honest answer is nobody.
Sure there are attorneys in Schaumburg who handle work injury cases. There are also some who have satellite offices there. That means there main office is elsewhere, but if you want to meet out there, they have a place to meet with you. The reality though is anyone can do that.
The reason I think the honest answer is nobody is because if you are hurt on the job in Schaumburg or Hoffman Estates, Elk Grove Village or anywhere else in Cook County, your case will be assigned to the workers’ compensation hearing site in Chicago. That means that your attorney, for hearings, has to head downtown to appear before an Arbitrator. While most of the attorneys that head to the Daley Center, where the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is located, walk there, yours will be driving or taking the train.
This presents two scenarios, neither of which are good for you:
1. They don’t do this very often so it’s not an inconvenience for them. But that also means that they aren’t regularly in front of the Arbitrators and likely that this isn’t the main focus of their legal practice. Both of those facts can hurt your case.
2. They do handle a lot of work comp cases and are downtown all of the time. This means they are away from their office all of the time too. So while I or any other Loop attorney can be in court within five minutes and head back to our office and then return, those suburban lawyers can find going to court to be disruptive. Even if they take the train, that prevents private phone calls with you about your case and often means that when they return to the office, messages pile up. As anyone who has taken the Metra before knows, getting from the suburbs to downtown when you factor in wait time and walking can be over an hour.
So you could be the most brilliant work comp lawyer in Illinois, but if your home base is Schaumburg or any other suburb, it’s my strong opinion that your clients would be better off without you in most cases. For many of those attorneys, their “office” ends up being the food court of the Thompson Center. It’s not uncommon to check with an Arbitrator at 9:00 a.m. and find out that they want you to come back at around 10:30 a.m. You could then come back and learn that if you want to go to trial it will start at 2:00 p.m.
I’ve seen attorneys turn down the chance to go to trial because they didn’t want to spend the whole day in the City. That might be best for them, but certainly isn’t best for their clients. I’ve also seen attorneys not make it to court because it’s snowing and they didn’t want to struggle to get back to their main office. That is shameful.
Bonus tip, if you live in the suburbs, no matter who your lawyer is, you shouldn’t have to travel to Chicago unless you want to or the case is going to trial. Every attorney we work with will meet you in the burbs or Zoom with you. But they also are downtown on a regular basis and happy to be in court because it won’t disrupt anything for them.