Many Injured Workers seek out the “Best” Workers’ Compensation Attorney or “Top” Workers’ Compensation Attorney to represent them or family members on their work injury claims. Also, Insurance Companies and Employers seek the “Best” or “Top” Attorneys to represent them in their cases as well. There are many newspapers, organizations, websites and marketing companies who have gotten involved in the process of providing consumers the “best,” “top,” “super,” or “distinguished” attorneys or lawyers.
This article will sort out what these terms “top” and “best” mean and whether there should be any credence provided to these representations. Also, this article will discuss what should constitute a “top” or “best” lawyer. This article will discuss whether there is any difference between a lawyer and an attorney. This article will discuss the nature of how someone is labeled as a workers’ compensation attorney or lawyer.
What is the difference between a Lawyer and an Attorney?
There is no difference between a Lawyer and an Attorney. The name is synonymous. Attorneys are Lawyers and Lawyers are Attorneys. In the State of California, there is the State Bar which licenses individuals in the practice of law. The title of lawyer or attorney is a matter of choice, not of the profession. Therefore, seeking out an attorney or a lawyer will get you to the same professional.
In searching for legal representation on the internet, however, those terms matter. Legal Representatives may choose to consider or label themselves as lawyer or attorneys. Some label themselves as both and use the terms interchangeably.
Therefore, when searching on the internet, your search terms may matter. Searching with the term ‘lawyer” will get you different results from using the search term “attorney.” Therefore, it is recommended that you do two searches be conducted when seeking out a legal professional. One search using the term “lawyer” and the other using the term “attorney.”
The different results may be found for the search content. It will also differ in the advertisements that will appear with the search. The reason for this is that Marketers and Law Firms, who purchase ad words, may purchase the term “lawyer.” Others may purchase the term “attorney.”
What is a Workers’ Compensation Attorney or a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
In reality, there are no Workers’ Compensation Attorneys or Lawyers. Attorney and Lawyers in the State of California are licensed to practice all areas of law in the State. Some Attorneys and Lawyers choose to practice in the field of Workers’ Compensation Law. Some choose to get a Certified Specialization in the field. In sum, nobody goes to Law School to be solely trained to be a workers’ compensation attorney or lawyer. Further, nobody receives a license to practice law that limits them to the practice of workers’ compensation.
Attorneys and Lawyers, who practice in the field of workers’ compensation, are also able to vary the nature and extent of their practice within the field. Some may want to focus on the representation of Injured Workers. Some may want to focus on representing Insurance Companies or Employers in the defense of claims. Irrespective of whether they represent Injured Workers or Insurance Companies or Employers, Attorneys, at some point in time, reach a tipping point in their practice in which they devote so much time and efforts in the handling of workers’ compensation matters and litigation that they take on the label of being a “workers’ compensation” lawyer or attorney.
In a strange sense, we become pigeon-holed in the field of workers’ compensation law. This pigeon-holing happens with other legal fields of law as well. Attorneys frequently get the label of being a PI Attorney, a Divorce Attorney, a DUI Attorney, or a Civil Attorney.
As someone who has practiced law for 28 years, due to the complexity of the law, it is strongly recommended that an attorney eventually choose a field or two of law to focus on. To use an old but not worn out phrase, it is better to a jack of one trade rather than a master of none. Over time, other individuals have called me a “workers’ compensation attorney.”
What makes a “Top” or “Best” workers’ compensation attorney or lawyer?
There really is not “Top” or “Best” Attorney. There is no official label. People, however, do refer to people with those terms. More often, people ask for a “good” attorney.
There are many elements as to what makes a “Top” or “Best” attorney. In terms of an attorney representing injured workers. The overall question would perhaps be whether the attorney consistently gets the best result for the injured worker. Each case, however, is different. In some cases, the best result is about getting the biggest settlement given the nature and extent of the injury. In other cases, the best result is about winning the case and getting the insurance company to accept the claim. In other cases, the best result is about successfully dealing with the claim and employment issues that arise from the claim. Sometimes, ironically, the best result is advising an Injured Worker not to pursue a claim.
I consider “Top” or the “Best” attorneys or lawyers to be knowledgeable in the law and able to use the law to effectively obtain benefits for Injured Workers. These include attorneys who are able to take unusual fact patterns or diseases and obtain a finding of industrial injury. Top or Best Attorneys should be able to understand medicine, medical-legal reporting, how to depose doctors, how to try cases, how to appeal cases to the WCAB and how to take cases upon writ to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. They should be able to accurately value a claim. To be able to perform these tasks takes a lot of time and experience to achieve.
Should I give any weight to the advertisements and promotions of “Top” ”Best,” “Super,” etc.?
No. I would not give any credence or weight to these promotions. I always joke about the fact that when I take on a “Superlawyer” and beat them, what does that make me? Am I somehow greater than “Super.” What could that be? I frequently get invitations to join in these various promotions.
The bottom line is that the advertisements and promotions are simply marketing. They publicize and print, in papers and online, their members. They will publish the list of their members in publications such as “The New York Times” or “The National Law Journal.” The members are those who accepted an invitation to join and may have paid for the honor of participating with the particular program.
As a result, they have membership benefits which may include statues, plaques, the use of logos, and profiles on various websites. They may be afforded to use trademarked material on their own. For example, they can use the promotion company’s logo on their own website or materials. One of my favorite lines from one or these organizations is that they indicate that “[a]ny references to “excellent,” “excellence,” or “distinguished” are meant to refer to the … the organization only and not to any named member individually.”
In sum, these labels are from promotion company, advertising agency, internet company, or newspaper, who wishes to get in the business of advertisement from lawyers and attorneys. They are assigning these labels as a different means of reaching the consumers who frequently search for lawyers and have some liking to the terms. It is a different angle as opposed to the pure advertisement. One need only look at the fact that once they receive the honor, the attorneys are afforded the opportunity to purchase promotional material from these companies touting their achievement of receiving such an honor to understand what is going on. In sum, it is another way of generating advertising dollars.
In sum, these labels are promotional only. The label or title does not guarantee what you are looking for in an attorney.
Are There Any Problems When Deciding Who is a Top or Best Workers’ Compensation Attorney or Lawyer? What Do I Need to Do?
Yes. There are many problems that arise when you are trying to make these determinations. First, within the workers’ compensation arena, there are attorneys who have emerged as the best or top with respect to specific issues. There are some attorneys who are the best at deposing doctors, the best at doing trials, the best at handling peripheral workers’ compensation issues such as Labor Code Section 132a claims, or Serious and Willful Matters. There are some attorneys who are the best at doing Petitions for Reconsideration and the best at doing Petitions for Writ of Review to the California Court of Appeal or Supreme Court. Also, there are geographical issues. Who is the best or top workers’ compensation attorney in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Francisco….? California is so large and there are good attorneys located throughout the State.
I am frequently consulted by Attorneys and Doctors concerning Attorneys and my thoughts about them. I am also consulted as to recommendations for attorneys. My approach to it is finding out the needs of the client and then matching them with attorneys with the skill set to assist on those needs. Sometimes what may be the “Best” or “Top” Workers’ Compensation Attorney may not be the best match for the client. The best analogy to it is wine drinking. When having wine at a meal, it is important that the wine be properly paired with the meal being served. The top or best wine may not go well with the meal. For example, the best red wine may not go well with a fish dish. The best white wine may not go well with a steak
In sum, the client’s needs may determine who is, in fact, the ‘Best” or “Top” Attorney or Lawyer for the particular claim.
What If I Need Advice?
If you would like a free consultation regarding your workers’ compensation claim, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.