In the instance that you have not previously, chances are that sometime in your own life you will need to retain an attorney. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, this is a selection of responses to frequent as well as imperative questions.
1. QUESTION: How can I make certain my lawyer is handling my case?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - in advancemonthly, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you're wise to occasionally review the docket and see what events have transpired by your lawyer and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel at ease getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the issue, knowing you will likely be charged for these interactions.
2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney at law 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 experience in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is crucial as that lawyer will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining legal counsel away from area in which the matter occurs is cost of travel time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others offer a decreased rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Discuss that question with each lawyer consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I determine if I need a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have recently been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to seek legal assistance immediately. Papers filed in court that commence a lawsuit require responses that involve particular deadlines; skipping those deadlines could compromise 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 possible resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action 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 a number of the concerns involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share the cost of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is usually required in just about every case filed in court and before a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What type of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, lawyers may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are very specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, like worker's compensation. Any attorney can discuss your specific issue, determine if he/she is qualified to take care of such matters or inform you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialised area.
6. QUESTION: Just how do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal problems are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and tend to be just as perplexing. To protect your rights and remedies, the best practice is to investigate your area of need and research what law firms are available to help you. A recommendation from somebody you know and regard can add a personal element to the consideration to hire an lawyer but should not be the singular reason counsel is chosen. Research the attorney's background of training, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be strengthening 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 given to the pick of a physician, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.
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