In case you have not previously, probably sometime in your own life you will need to hire an attorney at law. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, what follows is a listing of responses to common along with worthwhile questions.
1. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney at law in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county in which the matter will be litigated is essential as that attorney will have a level of comfort with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One matter in hiring legal counsel away from area wherein the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others give you a reduced rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Discuss that question with each lawyer consulted.
2. QUESTION: How can I be certain my attorney is working on my problems?
ANSWER: Every good attorney keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a statement of how the lawyer bills his clients – month-to-month, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to often review the docket and see what events have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. Also feel comfortable contacting your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the issue, knowing you’ll likely be charged for these interactions.
3. QUESTION: Precisely how do I pick an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal dilemmas are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and may be just as perplexing. To protect your rights and remedies, the ideal practice would be to research your area of need and research what lawyers are accessible to help you. A recommendation from somebody you know and admire can bring a personal element to the consideration to hire an attorney but really should not be the singular reason counsel is selected. Research the lawyer’s background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but can also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be considered with the exact same level of thought and consideration as that given to the choice of a medical professional, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.
4. QUESTION: How do I know if I require a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and similar documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to seek out legal assistance right away. Documents filed in court that commence a lawsuit necessitate responses that involve particular deadlines; skipping those deadlines could compromise your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some issues by statute involve a “pre-suit” period of time that allow you to consider the legal issues and probable resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is advised.
5. QUESTION: What exactly is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed area with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and solve all or a number of the issues involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the charge of the mediation evenly but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is normally required in every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
6. QUESTION: What kind of attorney at law do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other industries, lawyers may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in several unique areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, like worker’s compensation. Any attorney can go over your specific issue, determine if he/she is qualified to handle such matters or inform you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialised area.
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