Choosing the Right Attorney For Your Case
Each area of law can be complex in how courts handle cases and situations in your state. Depending on the topic you’re sorting through, the right kind of attorney and their expertise can be hard to come by. Each qualified lawyer has a specific set of skills that are advantageous in certain circumstances. You’re looking for the proper legal counsel that works in the area of law you need, along with the personality to fight well on your behalf.
Car Accidents or Other Personal Injuries
Car accidents and other personal injuries can impact your family life, your job, and your pocketbook. It’s the insurance company’s job to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. It’s difficult to know where to seek qualified help when car accidents and other personal injuries happen. A skilled car accident lawyer or other personal injury lawyers can help with several things.
- Dealing with the insurance company for you
- Filling out forms and answering the requests of the insurance company and the court in an accurate manner
- Ensuring you’re paid adequately for your injuries, especially when they know your case can be won
All of this is helpful for auto accident injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, physical altercations, careless employers who created unsafe working conditions, and more. The basic premise is that you should speak with a car accident attorney or other personal injury attorney if you’re injured, and it’s not your fault.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Sometimes the debt in your life becomes a crushing weight. There’s no hope of digging out from underneath it. In these cases, working with a bankruptcy attorney will help. The lawyer will be able to tell you which type of bankruptcy is best.
- Chapter 7 lets a person drop the most debt and never have to pay it back again. Most assets will be sold to help pay for the debt.
- Chapter 13 allows a person to pay back their debt with payment plans they can afford. Not all assets may be sold.
The courts require paperwork to be accurate in all cases. Creditors sometimes have the right to question a debtor during bankruptcy hearings. A lawyer can shield some of these questions.
If You are Arrested
It doesn’t matter how you found yourself being booked on charges. The fact is, you’ve been arrested and now stand accused of one or more crimes. You may or may not be partially or fully innocent. The judge will interpret the case through a complex system of laws, interpretations, and rulings. It’s strongly advised never to try to beat these charges without a criminal law attorney.
Divorce or Child Support Issues
When you’re dealing with a divorce case, child support issues, or maybe even an annulment, you want to work with a divorce lawyer or a family law attorney. Each one will be able to help you make decisions regarding several things.
- The decisions around dividing up your assets
- Who is technically responsible for your debts
- Decisions and strategy surrounding alimony payments (spousal support)
- Scenarios the court might decide on your behalf so you can prepare financially
- Filling out all court petitions, filings, and child support worksheet orders
Your divorce attorney knows the ways of the court and what is acceptable in their eyes and what is not.
Securities Law Violations
Securities law violations are illegal and can be prosecuted both criminally and civilly. The SEC has the authority to enforce securities laws, either by filing civil cases or criminal ones, against violators. Securities law violation prosecutions often result in hefty fines paid to the SEC by the defendant company (or individual). The penalties for violating securities laws vary depending on what type of security law was broken, whether any fraud occurred during the transaction, etc. Still, they can be severe—including jail sentences exceeding ten years for certain types of security violations. If you’ve been found accused of any securities law violation, you must seek a securities law attorney.
Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Attorney
What happens when a city, town, municipality, township, village, taxing district, or school district needs to be declared financially insolvent? A Chapter 9 bankruptcy allows these entities to develop a reorganizational plan to account for the debt between themselves and their creditors. This type of bankruptcy cannot force any of these entities to liquidate their assets, such as with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies for individuals. The reorganization plan can be approved or dismissed by the court. Finding an experienced Chapter 9 lawyer can help with the process.
Elder abuse can happen anywhere, even at home, and it can affect anyone of any age. The most common form of elder abuse is financial exploitation by a caregiver. There are also cases where caregivers physically injure their charge. And sadly, the elderly aren’t always aware they’re being abused because they don’t understand what’s happening to them. They might be afraid to say anything for fear of losing their caregiver. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, do not hesitate to speak up! A qualified elder lawyer can help you with your exact situation and walk you through your options. This process can be done with discretion to avoid inflaming the issue.
An elder law lawyer can also help out with final wills and transferring assets to friends and loved ones while the person is still alive. If the elderly person is no longer able to care for themselves, these lawyers help out with the issue of guardianship.
Help with Evictions
Many states only require a landlord to give you three business days’ notice when evicting you out of your dwelling. This experience can be frightening and cause feelings of panic. The good news is, is that in many states, there are protections in place for tenants. One or more nuances of tenant-landlord law may provide you with protection while the disputed matter is being settled. A lawyer who specializes in evictions can help you decide the best course of action for yourself.
Here are some scenarios where it’s good to have an eviction law lawyer.
- When you’re involved in disputes
- If there’s been mistreatment by the landlord
- If the landlord hasn’t communicated with you about your previous complaints
- You overhear that the landlord might be evicting you.
You should not try to represent yourself in court when it comes to these situations because they involve complex legal issues.
Commercial and Business Contracts
Business law lawyers help with the formation and dissolution of business entities. They draw up contracts for employees, between vendors, sales agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and more. A business attorney can help build protection into anyone’s business situation before disagreements start.
When Picking Lawyers, Start with Website Reviews
When you get ready to find the right lawyer for your case, you want to start by looking at their websites. Does the lawyer have several recent testimonials about how they’ve helped clients? Is the blog up to date? Do the pages have high-quality, valuable information offering tips that help you in the meantime? If they do, they care about their clients deeply and are trying to establish a reputation of caring and service for the community members. If their website offers high-quality information, then there is an increased chance of them providing a higher standard of care or professionalism.
One Lawyer or a Team
You also want to find out if it is just one lawyer or if you’ll be working with a team. What is the capacity of the team? Are all the lawyers of their firm assigned to your case or only one or two?
Honestly Look at the Reviews
Find reviews for these lawyers and their firms. Objectively read the good and bad reviews. Sometimes you can tell when someone is just making stuff up about a business, and other times you’ll get a sense of what some of the firm’s problems or issues might be.
This part of the choosing process can help you decide which personality might be better. For example, if any complaints are because of little communication to clients, but that doesn’t bother you, keep that lawyer on your list. If little to no contact bothers you, you probably don’t want to retain this firm.
Schedule Phone or Video Interviews with Each of Them
Once your choices are narrowed down, schedule a phone interview with each one. If they allow customers in their buildings and you feel comfortable meeting them in person, then do this. Meeting in person or with a video conference can give you body language clues that can help you decide to move forward. You will learn several things through these interviews.
Come Prepared for the Meeting with a List of Questions
When the appointments are scheduled, make a list of questions to ask.
- What is the lawyer’s exact area of expertise? Do they spend most of their time handling car accident cases (or the type of case you’re dealing with), or is it just one of many kinds they solve?
- How much do their fees cost? Do you have to pay for anything upfront, and if so, how much?
- Have they heard of a case like yours before? Do they think you might have a winning chance or based on what you’ve told them, is it a lost cause?
- How long do they think the case might drag out?
- What are their thoughts and opinions on mediation for resolution? Are they certified mediators that can help you?
- What states are they licensed to work in? If you have a case, that deals with more than one state, this will be vital. If they are not licensed in the other state you’re involved with (for example, when there are cross-state custody or business disputes), they will not be able to help you in court in that state.
If You Get Bad News
If you get bad news, don’t give up. Keep interviewing the rest of the lawyers. There are multiple reasons why the attorney feels like they cannot win for you. Maybe that lawyer isn’t as experienced with your case type as you were previously led to believe. Perhaps that lawyer only does the bare minimum in court when dealing with similar scenarios. All lawyers are different.
Avoid Using a Cheap Law Firm or a Brand New Legal Graduate
Avoid choosing a ‘cheap’ or inexperienced law firm. Cheap law firms might nickel and dime you. They’ll charge you for everything from consultation meetings to the cost of transcripts that they request (or don’t tell you about). If a lawyer works with an inexperienced team, getting your questions answered in time may be more challenging because fewer people on board know the law inside and out. If your lawyer is a brand new graduate, they may lack the expertise to handle loopholes and plot twists when they arise.
What to Look for in Good Attorneys
A person looking for an attorney to hire should look at how the attorney presents themself. A good lawyer will not pressure you into paying them or making you feel guilty for not doing so. If a potential lawyer makes it seem like you’re better off negotiating with them than hiring someone else, then they’re probably not the best choice. Also, gauge how they treat you during the interview. You don’t want to be explaining yourself for 30-40 minutes as though you’re the one at fault. You need a lawyer who believes you. They should ask about specific scenarios to see if they seem professional and knowledgeable about the law that applies to your case. An experienced lawyer can give you specific information on the ‘if-then’ type of scenarios. A lawyer giving you only consistently vague answers may not be the right fit. It’s OK to say ‘It depends…’ a lot, but a good lawyer will follow that up with specifics and won’t have to go hunting for answers.
Choosing the proper legal counsel for your case can be daunting, but there are some things you should consider before getting started. First and foremost, make sure that they work in an area of law relevant to your case. You’ll also want to find out if their rates are within what’s affordable for you. Finally, you want to choose someone who you believe will work hard for you.