In the case you haven't previously, chances are that sometime in your lifetime you will want to hire legal counsel. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, this is a number of answers to very common along with fundamental questions.
1. QUESTION: How can I be sure my lawyer is resolving my issues?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer contract should include a confirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - in advancemonthly, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that established, you're wise to often review the docket and see what changes have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. In addition feel comfortable getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to learn the status of the issue, knowing you'll likely be charged for these communications.
2. QUESTION: Do I want to hire an attorney in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other jurisdictions and other states, depending 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 county courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in hiring legal counsel outside the area wherein the matter takes place is cost of journey time. Some lawyers don't charge for travel, others give you a decreased rate or preserve a billable rate for all work conducted. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I know if I require a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have already been served with a Summons and similar documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to seek out legal advice immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit call for 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 that enable you to take into account the legal issues and potential resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.
4. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed location with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and solve all or a number of the concerns involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential aspect of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the fee of the mediation equally but other arrangements can be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is normally required in just about every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What kind of attorney do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other industries, attorneys may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle divorce cases, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are very complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, like worker's compensation. Any attorney can discuss your specific issue, determine if he or she is qualified to handle such matters or inform you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialised area.
6. QUESTION: Exactly how do I select 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 safeguard your legal rights and remedies, the very best practice is to research your area of need and research what law firms are around to help you. A referral from someone you know and admire can bring a personal element to the consideration to hire an lawyer but shouldn't be the exclusive reason counsel is selected. Research the lawyer's background of schooling, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be strengthening but may also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be considered with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the choice of a physician, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.
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