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Choosing an Attorney

Attorneys vary in abilities just as physicians do. Personal friendships, club memberships, and financial success are no better (or worse) a measure of attorney competence than they are of physician competence. Physician clients must try to determine their attorneys' general competence, as well as their expertise in the specific legal problem at issue. Clients should inquire into the attorney's experience in the problem area. They should pay attention to how effectively the attorney questions them about their legal affairs. If the attorney does not appear knowledgeable, the client must question the attorney's experience in the area. For example, if the problem involves a medical joint venture, it is important that the attorney ask about the impact of this venture on professional decision making. If the arrangement might create a conflict of interest with certain patients, the specific constraints that the state imposes on the physician-patient relationship should be discussed in the interview.


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