You could always check with the American Bar Association, but asking a friend of their recommendations is always a plus. However, if you do ask a friend make sure you get specific details on why they are recommending a certain lawyer.
1) What was the type of claim (will this lawyer work for your need)?
2) What was the outcome (was it out of court or not, was the settlement satisfactory)?
3) What is the lawyer’s percentage and arrangement for costs (do they come out of settlement or paid upfront)?
4) Was there a workable relationship between lawyer and client (listening, working for your need, returning calls, communication, etc.)?
5) Are you related or friends with this recommended lawyer?
One very important tip would be not to obtain legal counsel simply on first recommendation. And even if you have met a lawyer face to face, don’t feel pressured with their tactics and promises. If something feels off, there are plenty of lawyers out there to work for you. You are the person in need and you have the right to walk away from a shady deal.
The following are a few things to ask a perspective lawyer. If they attempt to avoid answering any of these questions, this could give you insight into their competence level.
1) Have they dealt with a similar to yours case?
2) What was the outcome and challenges?
3) What are the typical costs of a case like yours?
4) What is their fee and arrangement for costs?
5) What percentage of similar cases go to court?
6) How long does he/she see your case pending?
7) How long have they been practicing law as a personal injury lawyer? (how long they have been a lawyer is public record, but they may not have much experience in injury cases).
8) Are you willing to take your case to court? (sometimes a lawyer will not be willing to go to court and will drop you as a client before this happens because they do not want a loss on their record)
You should always have a list of written thoughts, questions and concerns before meeting with any lawyer. Remember it is their only desire to get the case, which may involve side tracking your concerns where you will have left the meeting without any answers.
And again, just because you have met with a lawyer, there is no obligation even though they will make you feel like there is. Don’t fall into their tricks to get work. Because for you, your case is personal, for them it is just one of numbers and these numbers don’t necessarily have to be to your advantage.