In case you haven't before now, probably sometime in your life you'll have to employ legal counsel. With the help of my interview with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, here is a listing of responses to popular as well as important questions.
1. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney in the county where the case occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, depending on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is important as that attorney will have a comfort level with the county courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining a lawyer away from area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a lowered rate or preserve a billable rate for all work conducted. Talk about that question with each attorney consulted.
2. QUESTION: How am I able to be sure my lawyer is resolving my case?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer accounts for his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a statement of how the attorney bills his clients - up front, quarterly, etc. You can also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that available, you're wise to occasionally review the docket and see what changes have occurred by your attorney and the other party/counsel. Also feel at ease getting in contact with your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the issue, understanding you'll likely be charged for these communications.
3. QUESTION: Just how do I pick an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal concerns are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and might be just as complicated. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the very best practice is to study your area of need and research what legal professionals are accessible to help you. A recommendation from somebody you know and regard can bring a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but really should not be the sole reason counsel is picked. Look into the attorney's background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but may also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be contemplated with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the pick of a doctor, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.
4. QUESTION: How do I determine if I require a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and related documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to find legal advice right away. Documents filed in court that begin a lawsuit call for responses that involve particular deadlines; missing those deadlines could damage your defense, limit or avoid your recovery. Some issues by statute involve a "pre-suit" time period that enable you to consider the legal issues and potential resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer at the earliest opportunity is recommended.
5. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the case present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and resolve all or some of the concerns involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the fee of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is generally required in just about every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.
6. QUESTION: What kind of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialise in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer services in a few specific areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle divorce cases, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are extremely specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, like worker's compensation. Any lawyer can discuss your particular issue, determine if he/she is prepared to take care of such matters or advise you of the necessity to consult with another in a specialised area.
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