Things to Consider When Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

A family law lawyer specializes in matters relating to issues that surround the family. These can include marriage, divorce, child support, spousal alimony, guardianship, adoption, domestic violence and child abuse.

Choosing a family law lawyer is an important decision, especially when dealing with child abuse and domestic violence. These legal issues are highly-charged events that require attorneys who are well-versed in domestic relations law and child advocacy.

Divorce can also be an emotionally-volatile arena that requires lawyers who can help both parties work through their differences while obtaining a fair settlement. When children are involved it is important to work with attorneys who will fight for the rights of minor children to ensure adequate child support is provided.

Issues related to family law often require clients to work closely with their chosen lawyer. It is best to determine what qualities you prefer before interviewing attorneys. Do you prefer a male or female lawyer? Do you require an aggressive attorney or one who remains calm? Do you need a lawyer with years of experience of would a recent law school graduate suffice?

It can be helpful to create a list of questions, concerns, and the desired outcome. Organize all records pertaining to the legal issue. For example, divorce lawyers will require financial records, real estate deeds, automobile titles, current and previous years’ tax returns, and information surrounding minor children.

It can be beneficial to interview three or more attorneys to determine which is best suited for your needs. Most law firms offer gratis meet-and-greet consultations while others assess a minimal fee. When arranging appointments inquire about initial consultation fees and what documents should be brought to the meeting.

During the meeting it is important to determine cost estimates. Family law lawyers normally require clients to provide an upfront retainer. This typically ranges between 25- and 50-percent of expected costs.

Legal fees are usually assessed at an hourly rate, but some cases are charged as a flat fee. Cases requiring extensive research and court appearances are typically billed hourly. Cases involving minimal work, such as a legal name change, are billed at a flat rate.

Law firms also assess backend fees to cover the cost of phone consultations, court filing fees, copying and faxing documents, and postage fees. Some attorneys deduct these costs from the retainer, while others remit monthly invoices.

The majority of family law lawyers require payment at the time services are rendered. However, some will allow clients to develop a payment plan. It is important to determine payment schedules to ensure you can comply. When payment plans are allowed, it is smart to obtain the plan in writing so that all parties understand payment amounts and due dates.

Individuals who require services from a family law lawyer, but cannot afford legal fees may qualify for pro bono services. Much depends on earned income and circumstances surrounding the case.

If possible, obtain family law lawyer referrals from family or friends. This can minimize time spent searching for or consulting with attorneys. Those unable to obtain referrals can utilize the Internet or telephone directories to locate law firms.

Another source for locating reputable attorneys is the American Bar Association website at abanet.org. The ABA does not offer recommendations, but instead publish a list of nationwide family law lawyers who are in good standing with the organization.

What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney After an Auto Accident

When deciding which personal injury attorney to work with after an accident, do not take the decision lightly. Not only could the decision mean thousands of dollars more or less in your bank account upon settlement, it could also mean the difference between sleepless nights wondering “did I screw up this decision” to sleeping like a baby knowing you are in good hands.

Here is what to look for when making your decision of who to work with as a personal injury attorney.

1. Do not look for the biggest billboard you can find and make your decision based off of that criteria. This attorney may not be the one best suited for you, and also may be too busy to handle your case “hands on” enough. You may be pushed off completely on to a junior associate who does not have the experience or free mindedness to do what is right for you. He or she may have scripted mandates from the firm telling what to do, and that script may not be in your best interest.

2. Ask for referrals from friends or family who have had claims. What better way to find out about actual experiences and outcomes?

3. What is the track record of your attorney at recovering damages? You want a proven track record and an attorney who is not afraid of standing up for you enough to take your case to court if necessary. Ask questions about results and court cases.

4. Professional organizations. Which ones does the prospective attorney belong to?

5. Does the attorney charge a fee upfront for the case? Some do, some don’t. Having the attorney work on contingency will effectively give him or her “skin in the game” and make the outcome that much more important.

6. How much experience does the attorney have in personal injury and what percentage of his or her practice does it compromise? If it’s a hobby in the scope of the practice, keep looking.

7. Attorney’s philosophy. If the philosophy appears to be sign up as many as absolutely possible and then push off on the junior associate, keep looking. If the philosophy is to work closely with you and then the law firm takes a “hit” at the end of the case to get you a better settlement, then finish the meeting!

8. Avoid firms employing contract runners. You should sit face to face with the lawyer you are hiring to discuss your case and sign the contract for representation. This could be the most important meeting you will have with your attorney. Some higher volume firms utilize contract runners, and may refer to them as “investigators”. You should not agree to a contract runner and insist on meeting with your lawyer prior to hiring. Contract runners are usually not lawyers, and therefore not allowed to answer any legal questions you may have about the contract or the representation.

9. Ask the attorney if he or she will reduce their fees.

A personal injury attorney may make more money at the end of the case than the client. Doesn’t sound fair does it? This happens when the attorney takes his full one third fee, and then medical bills take up the rest of the settlement. The client may not even break even and have money still owed on medical bills! You should ask if they will cut their fee at the end of the case so that this will not happen. If the lawyer is unwilling to do this, consider hiring a law firm that will.

10. Ask if your attorney will handle your property damage claim for free.

If your case includes a property damage claim (vehicle) ask your attorney if they will handle this for free, assist with getting a rental vehicle, and take care of dealing with the insurance company that is paying for the issues with your vehicle.

Starting a Profession As A Lawyer

Many people dream of becoming a lawyer in their lives but for different reasons could not make it. They might be unaware of the facts that becoming lawyer requires several difficult and challenging steps. If you are serious about practicing law, following are given few guidelines for becoming a lawyer.

If you really want to become a lawyer, start doing this from your high school. Taking part in mock trail teams and debates can help you learn few things.

Another important which you need to do is develop exemplary study habits such as reading, communication and comprehension skills.

You need to have great LSAT and GPA scores if you want to take admission in any reputable law school. The high scores can only be achieved through hard work.

You need to enroll yourself in an undergraduate college for 4 years degree program.

After completion of the degree, register yourself for Law Admission Test commonly known as LSAT. This test mainly focuses on to assess the applicant’s verbal reasoning and reading skills often used by schools.

LSAT is held three times a year, i.e. in the month of June, October and December. It is mandatory to pass the LSAT for a number of law schools.

Once you have cleared your LSAT, you are now ready to apply in a number of schools. Make one thing certain here that the law schools where you are applying should be accredited by American Bar Association (ABA). Application fees are usually high for law schools, so a careful and wise selection of the schools is required where they have an application waiver.

If you are one of those who meet their expenses on their own then it is the time to save some extra bucks for you for your school will not allow you to work for the first year.

Studying law involves a lot of hard work. You will not get enough time to waste. To complete your law successfully, you need to spend a lot of time in researching case laws, reading cases, writing briefs and preparing answers for class questions.

After the completion of first year, you should try to get a place in a law firm as an assistant, file clerk or messenger.

After graduating from law school one has to pass the Professional Responsibility Exam and later has to register him/her for state Bar Exam. This exam you can take in summer after completing your school.

This is the last step where you have to find a position as a lawyer. It is not easy as a lot of intense competition. Having any prior internship experience at a law will firm will definitely help.

Those who are good students and attend best law schools have got more job opportunities than others. Obviously, the competition is usually intense for best jobs and high grades.