In case you haven’t by now, chances are that sometime in your lifetime you will need to seek the services of an attorney at law. Thanks to my consultation with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, listed here is a variety of responses to basic as well as imperative questions.
1. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys 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 essential as that lawyer will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One consideration in hiring an attorney away from area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others offer a reduced rate or preserve a billable rate for all work carried out. Talk about that question with each lawyer consulted.
2. QUESTION: How am I able to make certain my attorney is handling my case?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer accounts for his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a statement of how the attorney 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 set up, you are wise to periodically review the docket and see what changes have taken place by your attorney and the other party/counsel. You should also feel comfortable getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, knowing you’ll likely be billed for these interactions.
3. QUESTION: Exactly how do I select an attorney or lawyer?
ANSWER: Legal difficulties are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and tend to be just as perplexing. To protect your legal rights and remedies, the best practice is to study your area of need and research what lawyers are available to assist you. A recommendation from someone you know and admire can bring a personal element to the decision to hire an lawyer but shouldn’t be the singular reason counsel is selected. Research the lawyer’s background of schooling, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but may also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be contemplated with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the selection of a medical doctor, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.
4. QUESTION: How do I determine if I need a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to seek out legal guidance right away. Documents filed in court that start a lawsuit call for responses that involve particular deadlines; skipping those deadlines could damage your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a “pre-suit” time period that allow you to consider the legal issues and potential resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel immediately is advised.
5. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the case present at an agreed local with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and resolve all or some of the issues involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial between the parties and their counsel, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally 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 usually required in just about every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
6. QUESTION: What type of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, attorneys may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in several specific areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker’s compensation. Any lawyer can talk about your particular issue, determine if he/she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the need to consult with another in a specialised area.
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