Choosing a law firm to handle your case is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It can be all the difference between a successful resolution and one that leaves you feeling cheated. You should consider these six factors when making your choice. They include:
- Specialization and experience with personal injury cases
- Record of past settlements and verdicts
- Participation in professional associations
- Client reviews and testimonials
- Willingness to take cases based on a contingent fee
- Online social media presence
We’ll review each of these criteria for Earl Hargrave.
1. Personal Injury Specialization
According to the Hargrave Law, P.C. website, personal injury is an active area of practice for Earl. The firm has handled a wide range of cases including:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Breach of contract
- Probate disputes
- Will contests
- Breach of fiduciary duties concerning trusts
- Neighbor law
It’s clear that Earl brings a lot of experience to your case from work in a variety of different scenarios. Therefore, it’s evident that he meets this criterion.
2. Record of Past Settlements and Verdicts
The firm’s website does not offer any information about his history in the courtroom. It does state that Earl has been handling these types of cases since 1999. It also states that he will pursue an agreement actively to get your case settled quickly without going to court if possible.
Earl’s profile on Avvo.com gives the breakdown of his practice as follows:
- Probate, 35 percent
- Family, 30 percent
- Elder law, 20 percent
- Real estate, 10 percent
- Oil and gas, 5 percent
This is one area in which you’ll want to discuss with him during your initial consultation for clarification about Earl’s experience and record with personal injury cases.
3. Participation in Professional Associations
Both the firm’s website and Earl’s Martindale profile list only one association, the Tarrant County Bar Association (Member, Real Estate Section). That’s a bit disappointing considering he confined himself to the real estate end of things too.
Earl received a BS degree from University of Texas at Tyler in 1985. He received his law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas in 1999, the year the firm started. The website mentions that the firm hires law students where he can act as a mentor for teaching them the intricacies of client-lawyer relationships.
However, Earl is a recipient of the 2017 Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Champion Gold Award. We’d love to read more about the cases behind that decision. This is another criterion that you’ll need to discuss during your initial consultation.
4. Client Reviews and Testimonials
The firm’s website provides no details about past cases. However, we were able to locate some information online. He has one positive review on Yelp.com which appears credible given the fact that it includes a photograph of the poster.
Earl’s Martindale profile has 14 reviews. Overall, his rating is 4.2 out of 5.0. Eleven of the 14 reviews include a recommendation for his services. The breakdown of testimonials includes:
- 3 out of 5.0 for communication
- 2 out of 5.0 for responsiveness
- 1 out of 5.0 for quality of service
- 1 out of 5.0 for value for the money
His negative reviews stem from two family law cases and one in real estate. The positive ones commend his responsiveness and knowledge. His staff is cited as being understanding too. Several do not provide additional details. Also, these are anonymous reviews.
It’s worth noting that his profile ranked number 5 out of 155 lawyer profiles in the Bedford, Texas area. We also found four glowing reviews for Earl on Avvo.com. We can say that Earl has this criterion covered in light of the overwhelmingly positive nature of the reviews.
5. Willingness to Take Cases Based on a Contingent Fee
The firm’s website does not include a mention of a contingent fee. However, we did learn that they offer a free initial consultation. They also have fixed hourly rates and the availability of a fixed fee. The firm accepts credit cards too. Taking into account the reviews above, we recommend that you discuss costs in your consultation.
6. Online Social Media Presence
The website did not have any links to social media profiles for either Earl or the firm. They have claimed their Yelp site. A search on the major sites yielded nothing. However, Earl does have a profile on LinkedIn.com. Other than that, he doesn’t appear to be active online, professionally. However, the firm will communicate with prospective clients via email.
Hargrave Law, P.C. meets two out of the six criteria for choosing a personal injury lawyer in a solid manner. Another two have weaker showings. We’d recommend discussing his past case history, participation in professional associations, and the possibility of contingency fees in your initial consultation with him.