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Choosing the right attorney

choosing the right attorneyFor most people, it is very intimidating to call an attorney for whatever the reason may be. For most people, turning to an attorney is the last resort. Once you make the difficult decision to actually contact an attorney, there is the added stress of what to expect when you are choosing an attorney. The purpose of this article is to help understand the general process you may go through when choosing an attorney.

Normally, I get two questions when I speak with a potential client for the first time. The questions are: what are my rights?; and do I have a case? For both of these questions, I need basic information in order to
provide a response.

It is normal for a lawyer’s paralegal or legal assistant to gather the basic information necessary to give a preliminary response. The legal assistant or paralegal is instructed to ask specific questions depending on the type of case. Do not worry – your information is confidential or privileged even though you have not decided to hire that particular lawyer at that time.

Then, the lawyer will either speak to you over the phone or in person. The lawyer confirms the previous information gathered and often asks additional questions in order to tell you about your rights or tell you if they are willing to take your case.

It is normal for lawyers to study important documents before giving a final response to your questions. For example, in cases that involve personal injury, lawyers often study the medical records to answer your questions. Please remember that if a lawyer tells you that he or she will not take your case, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a case. You should always seek other legal opinions before deciding to give up on your case.

During this process, you will able to see whether the lawyer and lawyer’s staff will be a good fit for you. It is a great sign if you feel comfortable asking the lawyer questions, and you feel comfortable with the answers you are getting.

For more Pros to Know articles go to www.qctimes.com/prostoknow.


Determining Legal Costs

Determining Legal CostsAttorneys charge for their legal services in different ways. Some attorneys charge an hourly rate to their clients. These attorneys may ask for a certain amount of money up front, referred to as a “retainer”, and then charge their clients after they have completed a certain amount of work. This is common when representing a client regarding a family matter, such as custody issue or when representing someone who has been accused of a crime.

Attorneys who represent people who have been wrongfully injured usually charge in a different way. Normally, personal injury lawyers only charge their clients for legal services if they successfully recover money for them. This type of arrangement is referred to as a “contingency fee” because it is contingent upon a successful financial recovery.

Personal injury lawyers do not charge their clients if there is no financial recovery from a trial. If there is a financial recovery from a settlement or jury verdict, lawyers receive a percentage of the money that is recovered. The specific percentage for attorney fees depends on the type of case. Generally, most personal injury attorneys prefer charging a contingency fee because they want the very same thing that their clients want: a fast, reasonable recovery.

Attorneys can also recoup costs of litigation in different ways. Examples of litigation costs include filing the lawsuit at the courthouse and serving corporate representatives with the lawsuit. Some attorneys ask their clients to pay for these costs directly as they occur. This is commonly how insurance companies pay for litigation costs because they have the money to do so.

Normally, personal injury lawyers do not ask their clients to directly pay for litigations costs as they occur during litigation. Instead, personal injury lawyers often invest their own money in their cases and advance the litigation costs. If there is a financial recovery, the client will reimburse the lawyer for these litigation costs. Generally, most personal injury attorneys prefer investing in their client’s cases because they want the very same thing that their client wants: to keep costs as low as possible.

For more Pros to Know articles go to www.qctimes.com/prostoknow.

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