If perhaps you have not before now, chances are that sometime in your own life you'll have to employ an attorney. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, listed here is a selection of answers to common and important questions.
1. QUESTION: How may I make sure my lawyer is resolving my case?
ANSWER: Every good attorney keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer contract should include a confirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients - month-to-month, quarterly, etc. You can also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to routinely review the docket and see what events have taken place by your attorney and the other party/counsel. You should also feel at ease getting in contact with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, understanding you'll likely be charged for these interactions.
2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney at law in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other counties and other states, depending on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is important as that attorney will have a comfort level with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining a lawyer outside the area wherein the matter takes place is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a lowered rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I determine if I require a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to seek legal advice right away. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve specific deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could compromise your defense, limit or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a "pre-suit" period that allow you to take into account the legal issues and probable resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer as quickly as possible is recommended.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed local with their counsel (if retained) and a decided on mediator to try and solve all or some of the problems involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the fee of the mediation evenly but other arrangements can be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is normally required in just about every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What kind of attorney do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, lawyers may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer services in several precise areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are extremely specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, such as worker's compensation. Any attorney should be able to talk about your specific issue, determine if he/she is qualified to handle such matters or inform you of the necessity to consult with another in a specialized area.
6. QUESTION: Exactly how do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal topics are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and usually are just as perplexing. To safeguard your legal rights and remedies, the ideal practice is to investigate your area of need and research what lawyers are available to assist you. A referral from someone you know and admire can bring a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but really should not be the only reason counsel is selected. Look into the attorney's background of schooling, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be urged in this process. Self-help could be strengthening but may also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be contemplated with the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the pick of a medical doctor, accountant, financial specialist or therapist.
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