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Essential Guide To Finding The Right Lawyer
Starting legal proceedings can be an extremely daunting thing to do. Particularly as you have just been involved in something that could have an extremely serious effect on your life. The law is incredibly complex, and finding a good lawyer to work on your behalf can be the difference between winning and losing a case. But how do you choose a legal representative that you know will be best for your situation? There are a few key things to look out for,
Avoid Hard Advertising
Unfortunately there a lot of lawyers around the entire world that are simply not up to the task. If you receive any unsolicited emails, cold calls or text messages - ignore them. The vast majority of firms that use these marketing tactics care only about getting your business and not getting you the best outcome for your circumstances. You will often get this kind of call or text for no-win no-fee personal injury lawyers.
Ask around your family and friends to see if anybody has any recommendations. Good lawyers are always wanted, and once people have one they often keep hold of them. Word of mouth is still the best way of learning about any good service, including a legal one. If you don’t know anybody who knows a lawyer, you can also look to your local bar association. Your final option is to look online for testimonials or reviews of a legal firm’s services.
Choose An Expert
You need to find a lawyer who has a good record in fighting cases similar to yours. And not just in a broad sense of prosecution or criminal defence. There are a lot of lawyers in the entertainment industry, for example, but you want to drill down even further.
If you have been the victim of intellectual property theft and needed to take the case to court, you will need the services of legal firms with experience in large patent litigation cases. If it isn’t going to court, then a transactional lawyer might be better placed to help you draw up an agreement. The more specialist the legal team, the more relevance they can bring to your case.
Draw Up A Shortlist
Make a shortlist of suitable candidates, and arrange to interview each of them. You may feel intimidated at first, but by drawing up a list of solid questions to ask them, you will be able to identify the best lawyer for your situation. There are some key questions to ask, and you need to find out if the are qualified to take the case.
You want to find out how much they will charge you. Another key thing to find out is who will be handling your case in court? You might have a senior professional run through your interview questions, only to be handed a junior level attorney for your actual court case. They may well do a good job for you, but you should meet them first. As you can tell, there is a lot to think about when you are drawing up your shortlist, and it could be a long process.
Although it appears to make sense to put experience high on your want list, you need to question that experience. An attorney who has been working for 20 years in the right field might sound like the perfect person for the job. But if they have only ever won a few cases, how can you be sure they will buck the trend for you? Good lawyers will be happy to share their records with you if those records hold up to scrutiny. Also consider their results within a specialist field. A divorce lawyer could get you an amazing deal in terms of your finances, but their record in negotiating successful parenting plans could be less than stellar. And that could leave you without access to your children.
Negotiating fees with any type of attorney can save you a lot of money. Although you might feel intimidated at first, there is really no need. Many legal firms will be prepared to cut a deal with you that is lower than their standard rate. There are a few ways to approach this, which we will look into now.
Most legal firms will offer you a standard rate on a no-win-no-fee basis. This is usually upwards of 33% of any damages you are awarded. However, make sure that you read all of the small print as some legal firms will include other associated charges to be taken off your compensation. Be wary, however. If you end up losing the case, these charges could still apply, depending on your attorney's terms and conditions.
Determine The Risk Of Your Case
The better chance there is of you winning, the more likely they are to take you on. And the more likely you will be able to cut a deal. The percentage of the compensation you pay should be related to the amount of work the lawyer has to do. This brings us nicely into the topic of gathering evidence.
Gather Your Evidence
Whatever evidence you can gather about your case the better. Find documents, contact details of witnesses, and keep a record of any contact you have had with the other party's insurance company or law enforcement agencies. Because you have done a lot of the work of your lawyer, they may be willing to reduce the percentage of the contingency fee.
Talk To Your Lawyer
The vast majority of legal firms are not going to bring up any notion of reduced fees. You will need to raise the issue yourself before signing a contract. It might be a good idea to have several options before you decide on a lawyer that suits you best and mention that you are in talks with several other law firms.
The legal process is incredibly complex. And if you have managed to read all the way here, you will realise that hiring someone to handle the legal process is very complex, too. The key thing to hiring an attorney is giving yourself time to choose the right firm. Be consistent with your research and questions, and listen to the advice of anyone you know with experience of using one. Once you get started, you will find it gets easier. Good luck on your hunt for legal representation!