In the instance that you haven’t by now, chances are that sometime in your own life you’ll have to retain the services of a lawyer. Thanks to my discussion with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, listed here is a listing of responses to basic as well as imperative questions.
1. QUESTION: Precisely how do I select an attorney or lawyer?
ANSWER: Legal topics are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and might be just as complicated. To safeguard your legal rights and remedies, the best practice is to research your area of need and research what lawyers are accessible to work with you. A recommendation from someone you know and regard can bring a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but really should not be the only reason counsel is chosen. Look into the lawyer’s background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be urged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but may also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be considered with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the choice of a medical doctor, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.
2. QUESTION: How do I know if I require a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have already been served with a Summons and associated documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to look for legal assistance right away. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit necessitate responses that involve specific deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a “pre-suit” period of time that enable you to consider the legal issues and possible resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer at the earliest opportunity is recommended.
3. QUESTION: Precisely what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed location with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and solve all or some of the issues involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the cost of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is usually required in every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
4. QUESTION: What kind of law firm do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer you services in several precise areas of law. Trial lawyers deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law Attorneys handle divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are extremely specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker’s compensation. Any lawyer should be able to go over your particular issue, determine if he/she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the necessity to speak with another in a specialized area.
5. QUESTION: Do I have to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is crucial as that attorney will have a comfort level with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in hiring a lawyer outside the area wherein the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others give you a reduced rate or preserve a billable rate for all work conducted. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.
6. QUESTION: How may I be certain my lawyer is handling my issues?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients – monthly, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to periodically review the docket and see what events have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. You should also feel at ease getting in touch with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, knowing you’ll likely be billed for these interactions.