In Part 1 of this series, we discussed what you should expect of your lawyer in terms of responsiveness and expertise. Part 2 continued the discussion and explained how you should measure the experience of your attorney. Part 3 addressed the financial part of the relationship and the importance of your lawyer giving you advice that you can really use—not just a legal “opinion”. This final installment reminds you about the importance of broad expertise and peer recognition.
#9 Your Lawyer’s Firm Lacks Expertise in Benefits and Immigration Law
Even the best labor/employment lawyer cannot also be an expert in benefits law. Lawyers who practice benefits law must be conversant in tax law and operate in a very specialized area. Whether your company is big or small you need a benefits expert at your disposal—especially in the face of the new world according to Obamacare. Many labor/employment attorneys can advise on routine I-9 issues but for anything involving visas and work permits for your employees, you need a firm that contains immigration experts. Be sure your lawyer has benefits and immigration experts to back him up.
#10 Your Lawyer’s Expertise has Not Been Confirmed by Peer Reviews
Word of mouth and advertisements can be a starting point to learn about qualified labor/employment attorneys—but they are just starting points. Be sure your lawyer has the highest peer rating available from a reputable organization. You want to be sure that other lawyers practicing in the field have confirmed that your lawyer is of the highest caliber. The two biggest peer rating firms are Martindale Hubbell (look for the AV rating), and Best Lawyers in America (no ratings—just look for the inclusion of your lawyer). For ratings that reflect both peer and client input, look at Chambers and Partners (look for an individual lawyer placement in Band 1). Use caution when you see lawyer ratings in some local magazines. Some but not all local publications support the law firms that spend hefty advertising dollars. None of the three rating services described above operate that way.
Use the ten benchmarks set out above to confirm that your lawyer has what it takes to give you the best advice and representation possible. Feel free to add a comment with other factors you consider important in choosing a labor/employment attorney.