If you have not already, chances are that sometime in your life you'll have to retain the services of an attorney at law. With the help of my discussion with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, listed here is a listing of responses to basic as well as fundamental questions.
1. QUESTION: How do I select an attorney or lawyer?
ANSWER: Legal difficulties are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are generally just as perplexing. To protect your legal rights and remedies, the very best practice is to study your area of need and research what legal professionals are around to assist you. A referral from someone you know and respect can add a personal element to the consideration to hire an attorney but should not be the exclusive reason counsel is selected. Research the lawyer's background of training, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be strengthening but can also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be considered with exactly the same level of thought and consideration as that given to the choice of a medical doctor, accountant, financial specialist or therapist.
2. QUESTION: How do I know if I will need a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have recently been served with a Summons and associated documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to find legal guidance immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; skipping those deadlines could damage your defense, limit or avoid your recovery. Some issues by statute involve a "pre-suit" period of time that enable you to consider the legal issues and possible resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.
3. QUESTION: Precisely what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed area with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and solve all or some of the problems involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial between the parties and their lawyer, and maintain the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the cost of the mediation equally but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is generally required in just about every case filed in court and before a trial is held.
4. QUESTION: What type of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other industries, attorneys may specialise in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, offer general legal needs or provide services in several precise areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys 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 specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker's compensation. Any attorney can go over your specific issue, determine if he/she is prepared to take care of such matters or inform you of the need to seek advice from another in a specialized area.
5. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based upon on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county wherein the matter will be litigated is essential as that attorney will have a level of comfort with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One thing to consider in hiring a lawyer outside the area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers don't charge for travel, others give you a reduced rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Discuss that question with each lawyer consulted.
6. QUESTION: How may I be sure my attorney is resolving my issues?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - monthly, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you are wise to occasionally review the docket and see what activities have transpired by your lawyer and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel at ease getting in contact with your lawyer at intervals to learn the status of the issue, understanding you'll likely be charged for these communications.
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