The following are examples of circumstances when you should seek a lawyer’s advice:

• Real Estate law including buying and selling a home, foreclosure, landlord tenant
• Personal Injury including accidents and malpractice
• Family Law including divorce, child support, elder abuse
• Criminal Law including vehicular offenses
• Workers Compensation
• Corporate matters including incorporation, employment, and litigation
• Trusts and Estates including Probate and Probate Litigation
• Patent and Trademark protection
• Bankruptcy
• Immigration
• Envrionmental
• Securities Litigation
• Tax Litigation
• Civil Rights

Finding the right Attorney

Find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable as both a person and a professional. Your case may involve very personal information and your lawyer will often need to know confidential details about you, your family and your finances to be effective in helping you.

The type of your respective legal problem may help define the kind of lawyer you will need to hire. Often lawyers have a number of specialties, and you want to be sure that your lawyer practical knowledge inside your kind of case. The lawyer who did a terrific job together with your friend’s divorce might not have the expertise to take on your auto accident injury matter.

Before choosing legal counsel, make notes concerning your problem and gather all the related documents to wear. This will help you to present your legal problem in the clearest and quite a few organized manner possible. It will enable you to concentrate on evaluating the lawyer’s reply to your case as well as your questions.

What should I ask a lawyer

At the first meeting you should ask about the following topics. Keep in mind, some lawyers charge a fee for your first consultation, some don’t.

• The amount of experience the lawyer has in your type of legal matter;
• A preliminary outline of how the lawyer believes the case should be handled and the time frame for its completion;
• Whether or not the lawyer carries malpractice insurance;
• How you can or will be expected to participate in your case;
• How you will be kept informed about the status of the matter;
• Whether or not the lawyer will provide you with a fee agreement that details fees, expenses, billing and payment;
• The lawyer’s hourly fee (if applicable); and
• An estimate of the lawyer’s total fee.

After meeting with the lawyer ask yourself the following questions:

• Will I be comfortable working closely with this person’
• Am I confident that the lawyer has the experience and skill to handle your case’
• Do I clearly understand the lawyer’s explanation of what my case involves’
• Do I understand the proposed fee agreement’

How will I pay a lawyer

Fixed fee

This type of charge, sometimes called a “standard” fee, is used most often for routine legal matters. For example, a lawyer may charge all clients the same amount to handle a “simple will.” When you agree to a fixed fee, be sure you know what it does and does not include and if there could be additional charges.

Hourly fee

Many lawyers charge by the hour and the hourly rate varies from lawyer to lawyer. Your total bill can be estimated by having the lawyer project the amount of time your case will take and provide a list of filing fees and other costs.

Retainer fee

A retainer fee may be used to guarantee that a lawyer will be available to take a particular case and could mean that the lawyer would have to turn down other cases in order to remain available. With this type of fee agreement, you may be billed separately for the legal work that is done. A retainer fee sometimes is considered a down payment on any legal services you may need. Since this type of fee arrangement can mean different things, be sure to have the lawyer explain the fee arrangement.

Contingency fee

This type of charge often is used in personal injury cases when you are suing someone for money. It means that you will pay your lawyer a certain percentage of the money you receive if you win the case or if you settle the matter. If you lose, your lawyer doesn’t receive a fee. In some cases, your lawyer may pay some of these costs for you when they are due, but you may have to repay the lawyer.

If you agree to a contingency fee, be sure you know what your lawyer’s percentage will be. Some agreements provide for a varying percentage depending on whether the case is settled, goes to trial or has to be appealed. If so, those varying percentages must be stated in the agreement as well. While obtaining a fee agreement from your lawyer is always a good idea, in contingency fee cases, they are required.

Statutory fee

The cost of some probate and other legal work is set by law. For certain other legal problems, the court either sets or must approve the fee you will pay. Often, a lawyer cannot tell you exactly what the charge will be, because it is difficult to estimate how much work is going to be involved. But a lawyer can usually estimate the minimum and maximum limits of the fee and give you some idea of the work involved.

How to keep expenses down

There are several ways you can follow to help your lawyer work for you and keep the cost of legal services at a minimum:

• Organize in advance all information that you think your lawyer may need;
• Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your case: could court costs and legal fees be more than the amount of money you would likely recover’
• Write down the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all people involved in your matter
• Bring any document relating to your case, such as receipts, contracts, medical bills, repair estimates, checks, traffic tickets, deeds, wills and letters from the opposing side to the first meeting with your lawyer;
• Find out if there are some aspects of the case that you can handle yourself (e.g., some telephone calls);
• Bring a timeline summary of the facts as you remember them;
• Write down the questions that you want your lawyer to answer;
• Avoid calling your lawyer; emails may be more effective use of time
• Inform your lawyer of any changes to your address, telephone number and to any situation that may have a bearing on your case;
• Discuss ways to resolve your case without going to court
• Reveal all information, even if it may work against you.