If perhaps you haven’t by now, probably sometime in your lifetime you will need to seek the services of an attorney. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, listed here is a listing of responses to very common along with imperative questions.
1. QUESTION: How am I able to be sure my lawyer is handling my issues?
ANSWER: Every good attorney monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a confirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - month-to-month, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that established, you're wise to routinely review the docket and see what events have transpired by your counsel and the other party/counsel. You should also feel comfortable getting in contact with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, understanding you will likely be billed for these communications.
2. QUESTION: How do I know if I need a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have already been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to look for legal assistance right away. Papers filed in court that begin a lawsuit require responses that involve particular deadlines; skipping those deadlines could compromise your defense, reduce 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 suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is advised.
3. QUESTION: What kind of law firm do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, attorneys may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer services in a few precise areas of law. Trial lawyers deal with cases involving
lawsuits; family law lawyers handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, such as worker's compensation. Any attorney can talk about your particular issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the need to speak with another in a specialized area.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and solve all or some of the issues involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial between the parties and their counsel, and continue maintaining the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share
the fee of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is typically required in just about every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county in which the matter will be litigated is important as that lawyer will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining legal counsel outside the area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others give you a lowered rate or maintain a billable rate for all work carried out. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.
6. QUESTION: Precisely 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 may be just as complex. To safeguard your legal rights and remedies, the ideal practice is to research your area of need and research what law firms are available to assist you. A referral from somebody you know and admire can add a personal element to the decision to hire an attorney but should not be the singular reason counsel is chosen. Research the lawyer's background of schooling, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking important 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 the same degree of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a physician, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.
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