There are plenty of good attorneys in Atlanta who know the law but rarely, if ever, see the inside of a courtroom. Plaintiff and commercial litigation lawyers have proven experience in the entirety of the legal process. A known trial lawyer with a reputation as a fierce litigator may even change the tone and disposition of the opposing parties in pre-filing negotiations.
Aren’t All Personal Injury Attorneys Also Trial Lawyers?
If you had assumed most personal injury cases go to trial, you’re not alone. The attorney advertising we’re inundated with – like commercials on TV, billboards and legal ads plastered on the sides of busses – seem to suggest lawyers are constantly in court fighting for their clients.
That’s not exactly how things work. Many legal websites offhandedly suggest there’s a 95 percent pre-trial settlement rate. The actual rate of pre-filing settlements is likely not that high, but it is true that the majority of cases don’t make it all the way through to a verdict.
If your case probably won’t go to trial, why is it so important to have a civil litigator on your side?
Preparing for a Case as If It’s Going to Trial
Some lawyers seek out simple, clear-cut cases they can settle quickly. These lawyers may even advertise a record of particularly large settlements and brag about high settlement rates.
Past large settlements or high settlement rates aren’t necessarily indicative of a personal injury attorney’s litigation experience. If a person is seriously injured by the obvious negligence of a business with a high liability policy limit, it’s possible for a lawyer to negotiate a fast settlement worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars without having to invest much time or effort into the case.
Gathering evidence and building a case as if it were going to trial can be time consuming, expensive work. Giving ground to the insurance company and reaching a settlement quickly, before a lawsuit is even filed, not only saves the lawyer a lot of work, but it also gets them paid more quickly.
The silver lining for the client is they get a settlement fast. The downside is the settlement they receive may be less than what they could have received had their lawyer been building their case and approaching negotiations as if it were going to trial.
When a person who suffered catastrophic injuries has significant damages and potentially overwhelming continuing care costs looming in the years to come, a quick lump sum right away often isn’t adequate compensation.
A law firm that’s primarily concerned with case volume and the speed with which they can close out negotiations may not be the best option in that scenario.
The Other Party’s Team Will Know Your Lawyer
The personal injury attorneys and insurance defense lawyers who are involved in settlement negotiations don’t live in a vacuum. Even if they don’t know each other personally they can do research or may even know their opposing counsel’s reputation.
Some lawyers have earned reputations as tough litigators who won’t back down from a fight if it’s in their client’s best interest to keep pushing. Other lawyers or law firms will have reputations for compromising, settling quickly and collecting their paycheck.
Your attorney’s reputation as a civil litigator may influence the settlement offers you receive and the outcome of pre-filing negotiations. The insurance company may be willing to go higher on the settlement offer if they know your lawyer is a trial attorney who means business.
Ask About Litigation Experience During Your Free Consultation
Every person or business facing civil litigation must make their own decision about their representation. There are certainly arguments in favor of the fastest, most direct route to collect at least some compensation, but that’s often not the best long-term choice for many people who are trying to recover from a serious injury or loss.
Attorneys Donald Edwards and Cameron Hawkins of Edwards & Hawkins have earned their reputations as formidable civil litigators. They’ve dedicated their careers to pursuing the course of action that’s in the best interests of their client. In some cases that means reaching a pre-trial settlement agreement, but in others that means taking a case to trial. You can trust them to give you an honest assessment of your situation and stand in your corner from start to finish.
Until one has landed in the proverbial “hot waters,” you will not often hear of someone looking for a lawyer or any sort of legal representation. There are different areas of law; therefore, it is not uncommon for a person to need a legal expert specializing in real estate, tax, criminal, divorce, or employment law. It is, therefore, not surprising that you may find the task of finding a lawyer daunting until you need it.
Here are five primary reasons and benefits of hiring a lawyer..
There are many areas within the scope of the law. Each area of law has legal frameworks and guidelines governing the proceedings of cases brought before the magistrate. It is best to rely on a legal expert who specializes in the area of law that you need assistance with. If you happen to be going through a divorce, it is highly advisable to seek counsel from a divorce or family attorney.
To find an expert lawyer in particular fields, you should explore sites such as https://www.topresearched.com/ that have already done the research and have compiled a list for your legal needs.
The Risk Of Not Having Legal Protection
Because of the broad spectrum of legalities and regulations, it is easy for you to fall into the trap of admitting or confessing to offenses that you ideally should not. Police often try to get as much information from suspects before their legal council arrives for such reasons.
With this, it’s just as easy to say the wrong thing in a stressful situation. Legal protection will prevent this from happening.
As there is an insurmountable amount of legalities and guidelines governing legal proceedings, there is equally an amount of paperwork required during any legal case. The paperwork requires extensive knowledge of the subject matter to fully comprehend, as you will find significant jargon, legal terms, and other colloquialisms in your legal papers. Misunderstanding these terms may lead to devastating fines or jail time.
Similarly, the incorrect or late submission of specific files or paperwork may cause a delay to your case or see your case thrown out altogether.
In family matters, such as a contested divorce or custody battle, it is highly recommended to hire a lawyer instead of choosing to represent yourself. Because family matters are very personal, it is easy to use your feelings or emotions like a sense of judgment instead of using logic.
Lawyers, however, are trained to remain impartial under all circumstances. It is their job responsibility to ensure their clients are protected at all times, they are prepared to take the stand, and they do not incriminate themselves in any way.
In a 50/50 case, the magistrate might have trouble determining who the guilty party is. A highly qualified and experienced lawyer will distinguish between winning and losing, such as a case. As per their training, lawyers are encouraged to pick, prod, and poke holes in every claim or allegation made by their client’s opposition.
Lawyers can challenge evidence or the obtaining of evidence. They can cross-examine witnesses and compare their earlier statements to the police and their testimony in court.
Hiring a lawyer may sound like an additional liability you feel you may not need; however, the opportunity cost and potential loss are higher should you need legal counsel.
The law of any country or state can be quite complex for most people to understand. Lawyers spend years studying the law and learning how to use it to their clients’ benefit when they need to. So, hiring a lawyer can be a good decision for your future.
While not all legal matter requires a lawyer to handle the situation, sometimes, having a lawyer by your side can be essential. Certain disputes or legal battles can be too complicated to deal with on your own, whereas when you hire a lawyer, they can dig you out of bad legal situations. Here are some of the reasons why you might need to hire a lawyer.
Defense Against Crimes
One of the leading reasons why one might need a lawyer is if they ever find themselves involved in a criminal case. Crimes are unfortunately a common issue in Phoenix, and whether you are charged with a crime or even if you are looking to file charges against someone for a criminal case, you should always be accompanied by a lawyer. As mentioned by the experts at the Belen Law Firm, crimes differ in nature and severity, but whatever the crime you find yourself charged with or involved in, hiring a lawyer to defend you should be the best option. If your budget does not allow you to hire an attorney of your own, the state should be able to provide you with a lawyer to defend you during your court hearings.
Saving Money in Business Deals
Hiring lawyers is not just done when a person is involved in a criminal case or legal dispute. Businesses can hire lawyers to help them out and offer valuable advice during business deals that could end up saving the business a lot of money. Lawyers should have enough experience in the business field to help companies negotiate for better deals and save any extra expenses. A business’s finances are the backbone of its success, so hiring a lawyer with extensive knowledge and resources in the field can come in handy.
Helping with Family Disputes
When most people think of family, they think of unconditional love and support. However, that is not always the case. For some families, disputes might arise that can lead to legal battles where you would need to hire a lawyer. This could be anything from divorce cases to child custody or even reporting a family member for a civil or criminal charge. Family disputes are always a sensitive subject, but they can lead to major cases where hiring a lawyer would be a must so that everyone gets what they deserve.
Getting Compensation for Damages
Hiring a lawyer can be important if you have been involved in some kind of accident where you have endured damages that you should be compensated for. Such situations could be anything from being injured at work, out of no fault of your own, being involved in a car crash where you were a victim, or even receiving a faulty product that you should be compensated for. Hiring a lawyer in such situations would help you get the compensation you deserve for any damages you may have endured.
Running a business can be challenging at times, especially when it comes to dealing with different legal documents, including employees’ contracts or other contracts that you draft for business deals. Hiring a lawyer would make your life easier as they have enough experience to draft any kind of contract, whether it’s for your employees’ sake or any trade deal.
Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated October 22, 2018
Not every legal matter requires the use of an attorney. Fighting a speeding ticket and going to small claims courts are two examples. However, in many other situations involving a legal dispute, challenge, or deal, you may not wish to change the risks of going it alone without the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you out. In fact, while good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help get you out of a number of sticky situations, such as a bad divorce, lost job, or DUI violation.
While each person’s legal situation is different, there are times when you really should hire a lawyer. In fact, failing to work with an attorney in certain instances can lead to broken agreements, lost claims, or even prison time. Below are the top ten reasons to hire an attorney.
1. The Law is Complicated
If you’re not a lawyer you probably have no business acting like one in certain instances. Even experienced lawyers typically do not represent themselves in court. Also, attorneys tend to specialize in one or more legal practice areas, such as criminal defense or tax law.
A solid case can quickly unravel without the help of a trained and emotionally detached attorney. Similarly, failing to hire a lawyer when starting a business, reviewing a contract, or embarking on other endeavors with potential legal ramifications can result in otherwise avoidable pitfalls.
2. Not Having a Lawyer May Cost You More
What’s at stake? A criminal case may determine whether or not you spend time behind bars, while a civil case could hurt you financially. Besides, there are many civil attorneys who don’t actually collect a dime from you unless they win your case. Also, you may be able to claim legal fees as a plaintiff in a civil case, so hiring a lawyer can actually save or make you money.
3. Lawyers Know How to Challenge Evidence
Without the proper legal training, you may not be able to know whether a key piece of evidence against you was improperly obtained or that the testimony of a witness contradicts an earlier statement. And did the crime lab properly handle the evidence every step of the way? Your attorney will find out and possibly have that evidence suppressed.
4. Filing the Wrong Document or Following the Wrong Procedure Could Ruin Your Case
If you’re not an attorney, you may struggle with the deadlines and protocol for properly filling out and filing certain legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could derail your case, delay a given legal procedure, or worse – have the case thrown out altogether (and not in your favor).
5. They Have Access to the Witnesses and Experts You’ll Need on Your Side
Attorneys depend on an extended network of professionals to help their clients ‘ cases. Most non-attorneys don’t personally know the types of professionals who can help with discovery or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party.
The relationship between a person and their lawyer is an important part of life. The necessary communication between the client and the lawyer is made simple by following a few simple procedures. No one wants or needs to be confused about fees, services, or the next steps in any case that is currently open. Here you just need to check to legally cancel a timeshare contract.
1. Trust and Communication
One of the most crucial connections in one’s life is between a lawyer and a client. Confidential communications are protected under the law of privilege. When there is open and understandable communication, it is easier to offer advice. Even outside of such a meaningful relationship, communication is essential to success.
2. Knowing Your Rights Before Choosing a Lawyer
When meeting with an attorney, whether before or after being retained. The client must feel at ease with honesty and satisfaction.
As a result, a client should never request that their counsel act unethically. Bribes, prompt responses, and full payment of fees are just as important as legal advice and aid during the civil or criminal process.
If a client is dissatisfied with the services supplied, he or she has the right to terminate the partnership. The separation could be for a variety of reasons, but in the end, the client decides who will represent them.
3. First Impressions Mean Everything
The first encounter of any kind is a nerve-wracking experience. Finding the appropriate attorney increases the pressure on a person to make the best decision possible.
Any encounter is made simpler by thorough preparation. Any meeting with a lawyer will include documentation, additional documents, and prospective objects. The lawyer will be better equipped to provide a quote and understand the situation as the case progresses. It is preferable to know if help is available.
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4. Fees and Retainers Explained Thoroughly
Complete honesty about costs and payment systems is one of the more difficult components of choosing and maintaining a strong relationship with a lawyer. Every professional attorney has a separate fee structure and charges for different services.
The cost structure may alter throughout the procedure. It is for this reason that any questions that emerge are freely discussed and thoroughly clarified by a professional.
A single file or briefing could increase service fees. When asked, attorneys will inform you of any changes that may occur. It is for this reason that a client-attorney relationship requires communication and a relationship.
5. Staying Atop of the Situation
The capacity to ask questions and receive direct answers is one of the advantages of having a solid relationship with a lawyer.
Whether it’s a simple series of questions or a request for vital information, the relationship between client and attorney is crucial.
Bringing too much documentation is preferable to not having enough. Medical bills and records, accident and police reports, images, and other legal documents may all be included in the documentary, depending on the legal situation. It’s best to consult with an attorney about what to bring so that nothing gets overlooked.
In a difficult, confusing, or complicated situation, individuals and companies may find themselves desperately seeking the guidance of a well-prepared and reliable legal professional. A great attorney has the potential to have a dramatic and positive impact on the life of a client. Whether it’s by helping them through a difficult family law matter, protecting them against false charges, or securing fair financial compensation after an accident, attorneys advocate for people during some of the most challenging times in their life. Lawyers matter.
But what makes a good lawyer? It’s not an easy job, and not everyone is cut out for it. The American Bar Foundation (ABF) found that approximately a quarter of lawyers leave the profession within the first seven years. A legal degree can also be applied to a multitude of professional environments and careers. But for anyone that wants to know how to find a good lawyer or how to be a good lawyer, it’s crucial to consider the key factors that make today’s attorneys successful. Below are ten traits that are common to the best lawyers in the United States.
Passion for the Job
As a starting point, successful lawyers almost always have a true passion for their job. You have probably heard popular cliches like “choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”. Of course, we all know that in the real world it’s not quite that simple. At the same time, there is a wide body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the importance of passion for your work. Some have an already developed enthusiasm for lifelong learning, but as noted by Deloitte, one of the keys to talent development is cultivating worker passion. In other words, people who are passionate about what they are doing are happier, more fulfilled, and perform better. If you have a passion for serving people and an interest in the law, you should consider applying for admission into law school.
Compassion for Clients
Without compassion for their clients, a lawyer will never reach their true professional potential. The top legal minds in the field almost invariably highlight compassion and service when they offer advice to law students and aspiring lawyers. For example, as reported by the Columbia Daily Spectator, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told law students that they should try to use their degree to “make things a little better for other people”. A lawyer who is committed to represent and helping their clients is likely to find meaning and success in their professional life.
Great Communication Skills
On a fundamental level, attorneys are communicators. They communicate with their clients, they communicate with other parties to the case, and they communicate with the court. Beyond that, lawyers communicate in a wide range of different ways. A great lawyer knows how to get important ideas across in formal legal writing, in informal emails, in phone conversations, through discussions in official legal settings, and in private conversations. Law students and aspiring lawyers should never miss an opportunity to sharpen their communication skills. It’s not just about the law, it’s also about the business. As noted by the American Bar Association (ABA), the average American law firm spends a considerable amount of time attracting and retaining clients. Lawyers need to know how to network with potential clients and how to demonstrate their professional capabilities in consultations with prospective clients. Remember, the greatest legal mind in the world will not be able to use their skills until they get hired.
Willingness to Listen
One of the most underrated traits shared by almost every successful attorney is a strong ability and willingness to listen. Although strong listening is a part of overall communication skills, it’s important to highlight listening as its own professional trait. Effective communication is a two-way street. Too many people fail to put in the time and energy to fully understand and comprehend what the other party is saying. When you truly open up your ears, you will probably recognize that people are giving you even more information than you thought. Listening to your clients, listening to witnesses, listening to your opposing counsel, and listening to the court can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Great lawyers take in all relevant information, analyze it, and create a plan of action.
Knowledge of the Law
Imagine that you were hurt in a truck accident on a local highway. You would probably want to turn to an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you’re considering starting a company and want guidance on corporate formation, you will undoubtedly want to find an experienced business attorney. While successful lawyers share many common traits, they may rely on a distinct body of law. The legal knowledge needed to be an effective corporate litigator is far different than the legal knowledge needed to help a California couple pursue private adoption. Great lawyers know their area of practice. Some of this knowledge comes from experience. Some of it comes from education. If you are currently pursuing your legal education, you will want to find the right law school classes that will be the most useful for you in your future practice.
Strong Writing Ability
One of the single defining traits that all successful attorneys share is excellent writing skills. Don’t be fooled by the flashy procedurals that are ever-popular on television, the vast majority of lawyers spend far more time writing than they do in oral arguments. Successful lawyers must be able to prepare effective, clear, and well-reasoned legal documents. If you want to take action now that will help you become a better lawyer in the future, focus on sharpening your writing skills. An attorney who can tell a compelling story that weaves in all of the relevant facts and arguments is an attorney that will be successful for a long time.
When you think about the job of an attorney, creativity may not be the first trait that comes to your mind. However, contrary to the popular conceptions of most people, successful attorneys are often highly creative people. The law is not purely a science. There is an art to effective legal practice. Remember, each client that an attorney deals with will have their own unique set of goals, objectives, and concerns. In some cases, ‘outside-the-box’ thinking can help craft a solution that the client may never even realize was possible. Successful lawyers know how to tailor their creativity to suit every situation. All cases should be approached with an open mind.
At times, lawyers are required to make judgments — both for themselves and for their clients. For instance, a lawyer may have to decide whether a legal claim is worth pursuing at all. Alternatively, an attorney may be involved deep in settlement negotiations and their client may ask them for their opinion on a proposed deal. To be clear, the client is ultimately responsible for making a choice, but it’s the lawyer’s job to make sure that the client knows and understands all relevant information so that they can make an informed decision. An attorney who lacks good judgment is an attorney who will not last very long in the field.
A Healthy Skepticism
Every successful attorney maintains a healthy skepticism. This does not mean that you need to be a pessimist or a negative person, but it does mean that you need to be aware of the fact that what you are being told might not represent the full story. Many experienced lawyers have stories about mistakes they made when they were just starting out in the field. A common error that almost every seasoned lawyer has made at least once involves believing someone without getting proper verification. In too many cases, clients and witnesses will leave out important details. As a result, the attorney is set up for an unfortunate surprise down the road. Successful attorneys always maintain that healthy skepticism. If something sounds ‘wrong’ or ‘off’, they take the time to verify the information.
Finally, successful lawyers know how to persevere. The law is a tough field. There is no reason to sugarcoat it; practicing law can be one of the most rewarding and meaningful careers out there, but it’s also a lot of work. As is true with any profession, success requires effort. There will be difficult days. You may be stuck dealing with a client who is making your life unnecessarily hard, an opposing counsel who is being rude for no reason, or a judge who rules the wrong way on a key procedural matter. You may simply be frustrated because you spilled hot coffee on your shirt that morning. It happens. What sets successful attorneys apart from ordinary attorneys is that they know how to persevere through the challenging times to get to the rewarding and meaningful moments that make it all worth it.
A career as a lawyer is one of the most sought-after professions and there are indeed many rewards if you pursue one. But working as an attorney has some drawbacks as well. It’s not all exciting courtroom drama, news conferences, and grateful clients.
Before you start down the long educational road toward becoming a lawyer, ask yourself if you have a tolerance for these disadvantages and how well you’ll be able to deal with them.
There are also a lot of advantages involved with practicing law and it does offer a certain distinct gratification, but it’s not what it was even a decade ago. If you’re thinking about law school, take some time to consider all the factors so you can honestly decide if a career as a lawyer is right for you.
Deadlines, billing pressures, client demands, long hours, changing laws, and other demands all combine to make the practice of law one of the most stressful jobs out there. Throw in rising business pressures, evolving legal technologies, and climbing law school debt and it’s no wonder lawyers are stressed.
The stress and demands of practicing law have fueled high levels of career dissatisfaction among members of the bar. Depression and suicide are common among lawyers and 44 percent of those recently surveyed by the American Bar Association said they would not recommend the profession to a young person.
Rising workloads and shrinking staffs are translating into more work hours for lawyers than ever before. The demands of global law practice also mean that some lawyers must be available to clients around the clock.
Today’s lawyers work longer and harder and 50-plus hour work weeks are not at all uncommon. A competitive environment has forced lawyers to spend more time on client development and business management activities in addition to billing hours. Many lawyers complain of a lack of work-life balance as a result.
Soaring Law School Debt
The cost of a law school education has outpaced inflation in recent years. Tuition at even mediocre law schools can reach well over $40,000 annually. Entering practice with a six-figure law school debt is not uncommon.
New grads often don’t earn enough to repay their law school debt in today’s cutthroat job market. A law degree is no longer considered a ticket to financial security.
Competitive Job Market
Today’s lawyers face one of the bleakest job markets in history. Record numbers of jobs have been cut and salaries have plummeted but law schools aren’t dialing back on enrollment. Some lawyers have been forced to settle for less-than-ideal employment or to change careers altogether.
A steady supply of lawyers coupled with declining demand has caused many legal professionals to rethink the value of their law degrees.
Clients Aren’t Spending As Much
Clients have become more conscious of their legal spending. After years of seeing billing hikes that far exceeded inflation, clients began demanding more value for their dollars. This forces lawyers to keep their billing rates reasonable.
The market will no longer pay top dollar for expensive lawyers to perform tasks that can be accomplished more cheaply, quickly, and efficiently by technology or by other professionals such as paralegals.
Changing Legal Paradigms
The practice of law is changing dramatically and lawyers no longer have a monopoly on the field. From legal document technicians to virtual law offices and self-help legal websites, today’s lawyers face competition from a variety of non-lawyer sources.
This isn’t to say that all these sources are necessarily reputable or that they can deliver the same results that a trained and educated attorney can. But they’re out there and they do divert many potential clients away from “real” attorneys.
Technology has transformed the practice of law and, like it or not, lawyers must become proficient in a wide range of technology platforms. These range from document review and management tools to spreadsheet, presentation, and billing software.
And even as lawyers become more tech-savvy, the market trend toward commoditization threatens to swallow jobs as lawyers are replaced by technology to deliver legal services more cheaply and efficiently.
Legal Process Outsourcing
It’s not a trend — the outsourcing of legal work to foreign countries is an economic reality. As more legal work is sent to low-wage workforces overseas or to regional delivery centers onshore, many traditional lawyer jobs are being eroded or displaced altogether.
Poor Public Image
“What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?”
“A good start.”
This popular joke underscores the low public perception of lawyers that’s still prevalent in today’s society. Although widespread distrust of lawyers has existed since ancient times, rising billing rates, frivolous lawsuits, and sensational news stories of lawyers behaving badly do little to raise the public image of attorneys.
You Won’t Like All Your Clients
You won’t be able to pick and choose which clients you take on, at least not if you want to make a living. People who need lawyers don’t represent a single, simple demographic. They might be wealthy and sophisticated but arrogant and exacting. They might be homeless and accused of a crime that they did or did not actually commit.
You won’t like all of them but you’ll have to give your best representation to each and every one regardless. How tolerant are you of people you just don’t like? Can you put your personal feelings aside to get the job done?
Despite what some popular jokes insinuate to the contrary, lawyers are people, too. They understand that it’s common for potential clients to be nervous or anxious when meeting for the first time. Try to remember that attorneys are there to help you. Knowing what to expect can ease your mind.
Being prepared will organize your thoughts, refresh your memory, and do wonders for your comfort level. It will also help to focus the meeting so your attorney can give accurate and relevant advice.
• Gather all significant documents. If your attorney has sent you forms to fill out, complete them in advance and bring them with you.
• Write down a brief timeline of events.
• Make a list of all the issues you are concerned about and any questions you want to be answered before you commit to hiring the lawyer. Sample questions include: What kind of strategy would you recommend for handling my case? What are your rates? What additional costs am I expected to pay? Who else in your office will work on my case?
• Think about what you would like the outcome to be, which will help the lawyer determine whether your expectations are attainable.
The meeting is an opportunity for you to tell your story, but it’s also important to get to know each other a bit to make sure you feel comfortable working together. Regardless of the reason you are seeking legal advice (personal injury, criminal defense, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), be honest and as accurate as possible when describing the events. The lawyer will ask questions designed to focus the discussion on the background facts he or she feels are important.
If the lawyer is willing to take your case and you wish to proceed, you will be presented with a retainer agreement, which should be fully explained to you. Do not sign until you understand it. This agreement is a contract that describes your obligations to the lawyer and the lawyer’s obligations to you, including such details as to how you will receive updates about what’s happening with your case, how much the lawyer is charging to handle your legal issue, whether you’re required to make an upfront deposit and how frequently payments are due.
If you need a lawyer for a case that doesn’t involve a claim for money (seeking a divorce, criminal defense, filing bankruptcy), then you will have to pay a “retainer” in advance for the work and then pay by the hour once the retainer is spent. Usually, attorneys with more experience have higher rates than novice attorneys, but the cost often evens out because they may take less time to do the same work. Some lawyers are willing to work out a payment plan so you don’t owe everything at once. If you can’t afford the costs that the lawyer outlines, ask if alternative arrangements can be made.
For cases seeking money, such as personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, the lawyer often agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the amount recovered by the client. This is called a contingent fee arrangement and although percentages vary, one-third (33 percent) is common. If you win, either through settlement or trial, the lawyer is paid for the recovery. If you lose, you don’t have to pay the lawyer anything (of course, you don’t get any money either). The lawyer’s fee is different from filing fees and similar court costs, and, win or lose, the client is usually responsible for their payment.
By the end of your meeting, you should leave with a clear understanding of what you have accomplished and what is happening next. If all goes well, you’ve found an attorney with whom you’re comfortable and who wants to represent you. While meeting with a lawyer for the first time is a new experience, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one.
The great expansion of international business, especially in recent decades, represents a challenge not only for the management of the company but also from the legal point of view, where the legal scenario also becomes international.
In these cases, it is necessary to have the advice of an international business lawyer or an international law firm.
Why can an international lawyer make a difference?
An international lawyer can make a significant difference not only in the economic results of your company, by saving future conflicts, but by the contribution of knowledge on international trade itself. This results in procuring better contracts and obtaining better benefits from the legal knowledge of both the local market and the client or partner market.
A lawyer with the knowledge and skills to perform in the international context is a fundamental element for a company that intends to operate in a global market.
Further, within this framework of international commercial relations, it is also extremely important that lawyers have a preparation that addresses the concept of social responsibility that is now required of corporations in the main markets of the world.
CSR, known as corporate social responsibility, is increasingly becoming a standard and contributes to narrowing the gap and favoring a greater balance between the economic and social dimensions.
International Commercial Litigation
In the event of a possible conflict between parties, the reason for a commercial transaction, which may involve both services and products, the company has two alternatives. The first and most advisable from every point of view is to try and reach a non-conflict resolution of the matter.
As an incentive, we can say that before there is a problem between parties, none of these parties desire conflict. This is the common point from which one can start from a commercial difference. A conflict is never desired and does not usually represent a benefit to any parties involved.
In addition to the costs involved in the judicial option, there is potential damage to the company’s image. Therefore, we insist on the benefits of an out-of-court solution whenever possible.
Our international law firm, experts in international commercial law, can advise you on the best option in the event of a possible conflict, always trying to reach the best possible scenario.
International lawyers, additional considerations:
The success of an international business relationship depends largely on the ability to understand language and cultural differences as well as a good interpretation of the legal systems that involve the company’s activities in the countries where they carry out their activities.
When a company carries out commercial activities in other countries, it is essential to have written agreements that are specific to international business.
Here are some topics to consider when conducting business outside the country, or in Florida if it is a foreign company. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to shed some light on the importance of the intervention of an international lawyer.
Reliability of the parties
Prior to signing any contract with a foreign company, it must be positively verified that this party is duly registered and authorized to conduct business within its country, as well as its fiscal situation, that is, for the government authorities. It is also advisable to have information about its structure, its parent company, and branches if any.
All this data will help to understand and eventually reveal certain areas of potential future conflict or areas that could help, strengthen or generate synergies with our services, products, or distribution. The assistance of an international law firm can be of great help in this instance, such as in the case of Markowicz International, which has associated international law firms in main cities across the world and can carry out these verification actions.
The person designated to sign the contract(s) on behalf of the foreign company must have the legal authority (power of attorney) and on the other hand, the signed contract(s) must be in compliance with the relevant regulations and formalities.
In general, international contracts provide that the parties seek to resolve all differences without the need to conclude in litigation or arbitration. The contracts must contemplate reasonable but specific periods of time so that the addresses of both companies seek to resolve those conflicts that subordinate employees could not carry out.
In the event that these differences cannot be resolved, then the parties may resort to litigation or arbitration. In general, international contracts usually require arbitration, preferably to litigation for various reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that arbitrations are confidential and do not generate public records.
CHOICE OF LAW (JURISDICTION)
The issue of jurisdiction and the laws that will govern the terms of the contract is no less complicated. When two companies enter into a contract, they usually prefer the jurisdiction itself, for reasons of familiarity with the procedures. In the event that none of the companies feel comfortable with the legal framework of the other’s country, a neutral jurisdiction may be selected to govern the contract regulations.
The list of considerations is very extensive and a single type of contract does not address all the issues of an international commercial contract. Each international contract addresses exclusive and particular issues specific to the type of activity carried out.
International Law Firm Miami
Our international law firm in Miami, Florida can assist you both in the event that your foreign company wishes to conduct business within the United States, or if your local company will conduct business abroad. We have a network of international lawyers in the main markets of the world.
With 1.1 million lawyers licensed to practice law in the United States, how does a construction company faced with a legal problem decide which attorney is best suited to help the company resolve the problem?
Selecting the right attorney is a time-consuming, but important process. To get started, develop a list of potential candidates by talking to business advisors, people in your industry, other attorneys and other trusted sources. You can consult law firm websites, online resources, bar associations or other referral networks.
The next step is to cut the list of potential candidates down to a manageable short list of preferred candidates. Then, contact and interview each of the preferred candidates in person. An increasing number of companies are investing the time and resources to go through a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
Regardless of whether your company follows a formal or an informal process, construction executives should consider the following ten items when deciding which attorney is best for your company’s legal needs.
1. Identify Your Legal Problem and Use a Specialist
The first step in the process of finding an attorney is to understand the problem or issue facing you. The law has many different specialties and sub-specialties, and before you can accurately determine the best attorney to represent you, you need to determine what kind of lawyer is best suited to address and resolve your problem. During this initial phase, consult your general corporate lawyer or another trusted business advisor such as your accountant.
Select a specialist to help you solve your problem. Lawyers today are as specialized as doctors. You would not ask your internist to perform open heart surgery. Likewise, you should not ask your general corporate lawyer to handle a wage and hour audit or an OSHA inspection. A specialist will know the latest developments and legal nuances applicable to your problem without charging you extra to be on the “cutting edge.” This up-to-the-minute knowledge is essential since it could be the marginal difference in winning or losing your case.
2. Make Sure the Attorney has the Right Experience
The appropriate level of experience is one of the most critical criteria in selecting a lawyer. You want a lawyer with a track record of success with your type of problem. Such a record of experience will increase the likelihood that the attorney can help to resolve your problem successfully.
Obviously, length of service, number of cases in a particular specialty and geographic area, and prior results are important matters to consider in evaluating the attorney’s “experience.” Along with experience comes knowledge of the adversaries and personalities involved in a case cumulative wisdom and perspective to evaluate risks and develop winning strategies related to a particular problem and confidence to steer you through the twists and turns of the legal process.
Viewing the law firm’s website will also give you insight into the scope of the firm’s practice. Explore the website of each firm on your “short list” and Google the firm and individual attorneys. These steps will help you assess the depth and breadth of the firm’s practice.
3. Expect the Attorney to be a Good Communicator
Attorneys are paid to communicate with their adversaries and those sitting in judgment of their cases. Equally important, however, is finding an attorney who can effectively communicate with you. You want an attorney who anticipates your questions and keeps you abreast of the developments in your case without you having to call first.
The attorney should have the ability to communicate in an organized and understandable manner. The attorney should have a good “bedside manner” and have good judgment as to when in-person communications or e-mail is most appropriate. The attorney should also realize that over-communicating may be unnecessary and not cost-effective.
When you are asked to make a decision or to act, the attorney needs to explain succinctly the options available to you, the practical and legal advantages and disadvantages of the different courses of action, and other matters relevant to your decision.
4. Consider the Attorney’s Professionalism
“Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. Among other things, you should expect a “professional” attorney to:
“Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. Among other things, you should expect a “professional” attorney to:
- Work zealously to protect your best interests
- Work efficiently and economically, using your resources as his own
- Return all telephone calls or client communications promptly
- Arrive at meetings on time and well-prepared
- Follow-up promptly and as appropriate
- Provide you with advice about alternative dispute resolution procedures
- Be respectful of everyone, regardless of their position, role or status
- Be neat and project the image of success appropriate for your business
- Behave appropriately in all situations
- Follow all applicable laws and ethical canons
- Not do anything that would create the appearance of impropriety
The attorney should display a tireless passion to protect your interests. The best attorneys take ownership in your problem and devote themselves to finding winning solutions.
5. Consider the Attorney’s Approach and Fit with Your Company
Attorneys have many different styles, personalities and approaches to representing clients. In addition to finding a “professional” attorney, you should match the attorney’s traits to your own style, personality and approach. Underestimating the importance of this subjective factor would be a grave mistake. In the final analysis, you have to find an attorney with whom you are comfortable and that you can trust to take care of matters that may impact your business.
6. Use an Attorney Familiar with Your Region
Whether you use a local or national specialist depends on the nature of the matter at issue. For example, real estate or workers’ compensation matters are almost always handled locally. On the other hand, matters of federal law, such as wage and hour or labor law can be handled best by national specialists. Transportation and technology make it possible to use a specialist from almost anywhere in the country.
Someone familiar with your region will have better knowledge of the local laws and procedures and the personalities of the local judicial or administrative authorities. Moreover, face-to-face communications are generally better than telephone conferences and e-mail, so it may be better to have the specialist located close enough to visit the site of the problem in short order.
7. Get References on the Attorney
To assess many of the considerations on this list, you will need to consult references about those attorneys on your “short list.” Ask the attorney to provide a few clients for you to consult. But beware, references provided by the attorneys are likely to give the most glowing references. Check deeper into the attorneys’ reputation and check with other sources. Other attorneys in your community can provide information about the attorneys. Online sources, such as Martindale Hubbell (martindale.com), can provide basic background information, and bar associations can tell you of any complaints or disciplinary sanctions against the attorneys. Hiring an attorney is a significant event and you should not take shortcuts in the reference-checking process.
8. Clarify Responsibility for Your Case
In a small firm, you may be more likely to deal directly with the attorney you hire, while in a larger firm you may have several attorneys working on different aspects of your case. Therefore, ask the contact attorney which individual attorney will be responsible for your case and which other attorneys will work on it-from start to finish and how the firm will staff your current and subsequent cases. Also, ask how the firm uses its paralegals and support staff.
9. Assess the Depth of the Attorney’s Support Network and Resources
Whether you pick a small, medium or large firm depends on the nature of your legal problem. A larger firm may have more capacity to handle complex cases or spikes in caseload and numerous offices to handle matters in different regions of the country. A larger firm may also have more depth or breadth of experience than a smaller firm.
A larger firm may have more resources to assist you. For example, a larger firm may be more likely to have an information retrieval system that can save you money on research or writing projects. In the area of preventing legal claims, larger firms are more likely to have informative websites, newsletters and educational publications for clients, periodic client training seminars or breakfast briefings and other valuable “add-ons.”
10. Ask About Fees and Other Business Arrangements
At some point in the decision-making process, the discussion will inevitably turn to cost. Ask the contact attorney to explain the firm’s billing procedures and methods. Most attorneys will bill by the hour, but contingency arrangements and alternative billing methods are becoming increasingly popular these days. Also, ask if the attorney would consider a reduced rate for increased volume of work. Ask what other charges you can expect to receive from the attorney for handling your case, such as travel charges, expert fees, copying, postage, etc. In addition, ask if the attorney charges you the attorneys’ hourly rates for travel time, if applicable.
Competition among attorneys is fiercer than ever and it is amazing how accommodating attorneys will be to get new work. However, never make the decision as to which attorney is best for your company based on cost alone. Once you have engaged the attorney, expect to get a written engagement letter that addresses the billing arrangement and other aspects of the relationship.
This list is not intended to cover every situation or to be exhaustive. Other factors will be relevant to individual situations. Nevertheless, this brief list of ten considerations should assist you in the selection of an attorney that best fits your needs whenever you need to hire an attorney.