In the case you haven’t already, probably sometime in your life you will have to retain an attorney. With the help of my discussion with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, below is a list of responses to popular along with worthwhile questions.
1. QUESTION: How am I able to be certain my lawyer is resolving my issues?
ANSWER: Every good attorney keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer contract should include a statement of how the attorney bills his clients – in advancemonthly, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that established, you’re wise to occasionally review the docket and see what events have transpired by your counsel and the other party/counsel. Also feel at ease getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, knowing you will likely be charged for these communications.
2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers practice in other jurisdictions and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is crucial as that attorney will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One consideration in hiring a lawyer outside the area wherein the matter takes place is cost of travel time. Some attorneys don’t charge for travel, others offer a lowered rate or maintain a billable rate for all work conducted. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I determine if I need a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to look for legal assistance immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; missing those deadlines could compromise your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a “pre-suit” period that enable you to consider the legal issues and possible resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer immediately is recommended.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed area with their counsel (if retained) and a decided on mediator to try and solve all or some of the concerns involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to inspire settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share the charge of the mediation evenly but other arrangements can be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is generally required in just about every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What type of law firm do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialise in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in several precise areas of law. Trial lawyers handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, such as worker’s compensation. Any lawyer should be able to go over your specific issue, determine if he or she is qualified to handle such matters or inform you of the need to speak with another in a specialized area.
6. QUESTION: Precisely how do I select an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal concerns are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are generally just as complicated. To protect your rights and remedies, the best practice is to research your area of need and research what lawyers are around to help you. A recommendation from someone you know and respect can add a personal element to the decision to hire an attorney but should not be the exclusive reason counsel is chosen. Look into the lawyer’s background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be urged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but can also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be considered with exactly the same level of thought and consideration as that directed at the pick of a medical professional, accountant, financial specialist or therapist.
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