Month: June 2018

Legal Rights Advice: 7 Best Tips for Obtaining Advice on Your Legal Rights

When getting legal advice about your rights, it is important to keep certain things in mind. This article helps you to find the best way to get the legal rights advice you desire. This article starts by exploring who might be the best person to help you and why. Next, more to think about when choosing the right person to help will be discussed. The article will end with suggestions of how to find the person from which you can get the best legal advice.

The first best tip for obtaining the best legal advice is simple: find the best person who can help you with your issue. Who could this person be? A lawyer, of course. This may be obvious, but many of us don’t do this. Many people ask their friends and family legal advice. Yet, lawyers are trained professionals to handle legal issues. They know more about the law than most other people. Many people agree that talking to a lawyer would be the best person from which to get legal advice. So, if in doubt, ask a lawyer for answers to your legal questions.

The second tip of getting legal advice the best way would be finding lawyers in your geographical area that also specialize in the area of law for which help you are seeking. Many people don’t know that lawyers specialize in a certain areas of law, but your neighbor who specializes in corporate law may not be the best person to talk to about your divorce. Lawyers don’t specialize in everything related to all laws, so it’s best to speak to a lawyer who studied the type of law you need to help find a solution for your situation.

The third part of this equation is finding a lawyer who knows the laws for your state, province, country. Some think that their lawyer friend in Oklahoma can help in Idaho. There are many different laws in all states, provinces and countries and lawyers can’t possibly know laws for everywhere in the world. They specialize in the place they practice law for an important reason. I’m sure we can all agree that there are lawyers everywhere who are willing to help give legal rights advice.

The fourth best tip for obtaining advice is finding a lawyer you can talk to. Lawyers are not one-size-fits-all, even when discussing a similar issue. Lawyers may communicate better with some people than others. The hope is that all lawyers can talk with anyone. Yet, some lawyers aren’t able to “dumb it down” for those of us that don’t understand all of the laws and legal jargon. Also, we all know that some personalities simply clash. The lawyer that will fit best for you is someone who can answer your questions and talk to you in a way you can understand. Please feel capable and able to search around for a lawyer that communicates your language, instead of settling for who’s there.

The fifth tip for getting best legal rights advice is to find someone who’s available when you need them. Yes, you may have found a lawyer in your geographical area who specializes in the area of law you need help in with whom you communicate well, but ask yourself if they available for you when you need them. When you call, are they available? When you need to leave a message, do they return your calls? Can you talk to them in an emergency situation at nights or on the weekends?

The sixth tip for getting the best advice for your legal rights is can they give you advice on legal matters that are trivial OR traumatic. The best lawyers are those who can advise you on matters even when you don’t have a pending court case. They can tell you what to say if they aren’t able to represent you in a court case, for whatever reason. They can advise what to say in a letter you’re writing to a company who’s treating you poorly, or write the letter themselves. They can help you know if a contract you are about to sign is a good contract or has some things you might want to watch out for. The best lawyers will be your all-around legal advocates, in the area in which they specialize. If they can’t be, you may need to find someone else.

The seventh tip, a little different angle, for obtaining the best legal rights advice is knowing where to find this awesome lawyer for which you are seeking. There are many ways to search for lawyers in your area. You can check the phone book. You could look in your area until you find this capable lawyer. You could also network, asking friends their advice for a lawyer. Or, you could also do an online local search. I’ve heard that more than half of the online searches done are for local businesses. All of the above, plus more, are great options for obtaining the help you desire.

Some of these tips may seem far-fetched and impossible, yet they are not. Lawyers do actually exist that fit these qualifications. There are real lawyers you can find that communicate well, specialize in the area of law for which you need help, practice law in your geographic area, can offer assistance on the trivial and traumatic and be available whenever you need help. All you need to do is reach out and ask! Help is always available to you whenever and wherever you need it.

 

10 Reasons Every Lawyer Needs to Be on Video

1. Static websites are out.

In case you haven’t noticed, websites that do not interact with a viewer quickly lose the attention of someone searching for an attorney. Unless you can immediately provide a viewer with the information they are looking for, they will go elsewhere.

2. Yellow Pages are out.

If you still haven’t figured it out yet, the Yellow Pages has long been out of favor as Web 2.0 and social networking have consumed the online world. Most people today go online to look for information, and there are fewer and fewer people still using the antique yellow pages to find an attorney.

3. Lawyer directories are long gone.

Five years ago, lawyer directories were used to scam lawyers into giving up their hard earned money so they could sit on a list with 8000 other lawyers. The problem was that no website viewer was able to distinguish one lawyer from any other. You were just another name on a list that proved useless.

4. Static blogs are not interactive.

Most attorney blogs are not interactive. They tend to shout at you instead of educating you. An attorney blog that does not have video fails to utilize the best tool online to interact with a website viewer. Viewers want to be able to interact with you, and really do not want to see pictures of buildings or cityscapes or courthouses.

5. Video allows a viewer to see you.

Photographs are nice, but video is so much better. A viewer can see you. They can watch you talk. They can watch your expression. They can see how you dress. They can see the office you’re in. They can learn a lot about you after watching only a few moments of video.

Think about it this way: when you are purchasing an item online don’t you want to see what it is you’re going to get before you make that purchase? If you’ve never held that product in your hand, aren’t you more inclined to buy the product if you see a video about it or someone talking about the product?

6. Video allows the viewer to hear you.

There is no substitute for allowing a viewer to hear you. Podcasts are great, but most people are not going to download your audio podcast if they don’t know you. By combining both audio and video you create the best of both worlds. Video gives the viewer a preview of how you sound and what they will hear if they pick up the phone to call you or make an appointment to come in and see you.

7. Video allows a viewer to see how confident you are.

If you are knowledgeable, you will come across as confident. A video will portray you as being an expert in your field. A viewer is much more likely to call someone that they perceive as an expert compared to someone who has very little experience handling their particular legal problem. Video is the best way to achieve this before a viewer ever comes into your office.

8. Video allows a viewer to begin to trust you before they ever pick up the phone to call you.

How do you develop trust with someone you have never met before? With video. By explaining to a viewer who you are, what you do and how you can help solve their problem, you come across as the “go to person” for a website viewer.

9. Video allows you to begin a conversation that allows the viewer to raise their hand and ask for more information.

The goal of creating an attorney video is not to sell your legal services. Instead, it is to educate a potential client and engage them in a line of thought that will compel them to pick up the phone and call you. 99.9% of attorneys fail to recognize this important point.

Think back to the last time you went to a car showroom to buy a car. Did the salesman try and sell you a car, or did the salesman try to educate you about the car he was selling?

If you come across as a salesman, no one will pick up the phone to call you. Educate a viewer, and you are much more likely to get that telephone call than your competitor.

10. Video is interactive.

A video is the next best thing to being there. Admittedly, it is a one way interaction. Short of having a two way video conversation, video allows you to interact with your viewer in their private space and during their private time. Create a video one time, and have it watched by thousands.

CONCLUSION

Lawyers who fail to take advantage of creating attorney video lose the opportunity to be ranked highly in the video search engines, and lose the opportunity for potential clients who are searching for lawyers online to find you. Don’t get lost in all the social networking hype about what lawyers must do in order to properly market themselves in today’s economy. Instead, focus on the information you can provide to potential consumers using the best tool currently available: Video.

Gerry Oginski is a New York medical malpractice and personal injury trial lawyer, and has produced and created more than 400 videos to market his solo law firm. He is the only medical malpractice lawyer in the country who is an experienced video producer who helps lawyers create online video to market their law firms. He is a noted author, speaker, video producer and Founder of the Lawyers Video Studio,

How to Avoid the 12 Biggest Mistakes People Make in Hiring a Lawyer

I hate to see people taken advantage of and I hate to see people suffer after choosing the wrong lawyer. Maybe those are two of the reasons that I became a lawyer, so that I could do something about those situations. I have seen clients who had lawyers neglect their cases for not just weeks but years. I have heard complaints about lawyers who would not tell the client what was going on with their cases, but would bill the client when the client called to ask what was happening. I have heard complaints about lawyers who took money from clients without a clear understanding of the expectations on either side.

I also hate to have to clean up a mess made by another lawyer. It is much easier to assist a client and avoid potential problems than it is to repair damage from choosing the wrong lawyer. I have seen poorly drafted prenuptial agreements and separation agreements. I have had to step in to repair and finish a botched annulment. I have had to step in to repair and finish a botched divorce.

One woman’s tale of woe especially comes to mind. Around the office, we call her story “The Tale of the Nine Year Divorce.” She had hired an attorney to defend a divorce action here in Virginia and to counter sue for divorce. She was living out of state at the time and paid the attorney a significant retainer. There was no written contract. The lawyer she had chosen seemed to be afraid of the opposing counsel and did nothing to move the case forward. In fact, the lawyer allowed the case to be dismissed from the court docket for inaction.

Cases are not dismissed on this basis without prior notice to counsel of record. The lawyer did not notify his client of the potential dismissal. It was not until the court notified her of the dismissal that she found out what had happened. The client was in an automobile accident, as a result of which she was hospitalized and undergoing multiple surgeries. She trusted her lawyer to look out for her interests; she did not know or understand what should have been taking place and had no idea until she received notification from the court that the case had been dismissed.

When the client contacted the lawyer, he had the case reinstated. However, it was not until the opposing attorney withdrew from the case, that the lawyer acted to put forward the interests of his client. Meanwhile, the lawyer allowed the woman’s husband to abscond, fleeing the jurisdiction of the court, with the bulk of the marital assets. The lawyer did get an order of spousal support, but did nothing effective to collect or enforce the spousal support order against the defendant who was not paying.

In fact, the lawyer allowed tens of thousands of dollars of arrears to accumulate. Meanwhile, the lawyer asked for and got a court award of $10,000 of attorney’s fees from the absconded husband. When the lawyer realized that the husband had spent the money and the attorney fee award would not be easily collected, he began to demand money from the client. Being disabled and not having received a penny of the support award, she was unable to pay the lawyer and he withdrew from her case at the final hearing. Needless to say all of this left the woman with a bad taste in her mouth when it comes to lawyers.

The woman heard about me and came to me despite having had a bad experience, because she was in need of help. We were able to finish up the divorce and property division, which had been started 9-10 years prior and we began enforcement of the support award by attaching social security and retirement income due her husband.

Through our efforts collection began and an income stream began to flow to the client. We were also able to successfully defend the woman from an attempt by her husband to stop support payments and at the same time recover some of the items of personal property which had been awarded to her by the court. The woman still had to defend herself from a law suit brought by the lawyer who was demanding over $10,000 and had not credited the retainer which the woman paid at the beginning of the representation.

I have written this article in hopes that it may help you avoid the costly mistakes of the Nine Year Divorce.
There are two areas where people make mistakes. The first area is in selecting the lawyer and the second area is mistakes made after selecting the lawyer.

HYPE IN LAWYER ADVERTISING

COMBINED EXPERIENCE HYPE. Law firms that tout “*** years of combined experience” are probably trying to magnify or enhance their credentials. If you are looking for a lawyer with experience, this hype does little to inform you of the actual experience of the individual lawyers. My question is if the lawyers each have significant years of experience, why don’t they say how much experience each lawyer has? Why? Because it sounds grander to use the combined figure. Even an ant looks like a mighty monster under a magnifying glass.

LAUNDRY LIST HYPE. Law firms that have a laundry list of services may not be the best choice for your situation. Remember the proverb “Jack of all trades, master of none”? You can certainly be a jack of all trades, but can you be a master at all trades? How much of the practice of the firm is devoted to your type of case? For example, does the law firm (and the particular lawyer) you are considering devote a significant portion of the practice to the type of case for which you are seeking representation?

Perhaps you are looking at one stop shopping and it is important to you to find a lawyer or law firm that can handle multiple matters for you. Then you may want to ask if the lawyer handles each of those areas, but you should also ask how much of the practice is devoted to each area and how much experience the lawyer has in each area. Are there client testimonials available for each area? Think carefully and decide if it may be worthwhile to seek out a more specialized practice for each of your problems.

BIGGER IS BETTER HYPE When it comes to law firms, bigger is not necessarily better, much less the best. If you want personal attention, you may find that a medium sized or smaller firm will be more attentive. Law firms that have group photographs with all of the clerks and secretaries are trying to look bigger to compete with mega firms with dozens or hundreds of lawyers. But in the final analysis size does not matter; bigger is not better than smaller, nor is smaller better than bigger. What does matter is personal care and attention. This is something that you will have to ask about and be sensitive to as you call on various lawyers and law firms in your search for the right lawyer and law firm for you and for your case.

IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE… [CHOOSING A LAWYER BASED ON COST] Cheapest is seldom the best. On the other hand, just because something costs a lot does not make it better than something that costs less. Would you choose a doctor or dentist based on how cheap his services are? No, not if you can help it. You want the best doctor, the most attentive doctor, the smartest doctor, the most knowledgeable doctor at the best price. Cost may be a legitimate factor in choosing a lawyer but it should be the last and least significant factor. Cost certainly should not override other factors such as ability, experience, reputation within the legal community and client testimonials. Can you afford cheap legal advice that may be bad or wrong?

ASSUMING AND NOT CHECKING Related to falling for hype in lawyer advertising is assuming and not checking. Don’t believe the yellow page ads. All lawyers are not equal. You should investigate any lawyer or law firm before engaging them. Inquire about his/her reputation in the legal community. Check out what clients have to say about the lawyer and the law firm. ASSUMING PRE-PAID LEGAL IS THE WAY TO GO. Don’t assume that pre-paid legal is the way to go. Just because you have pre-paid legal available for use does not mean that you should use them. The best lawyers are seldom members of a pre-paid legal service panel. You certainly should not allow the pre-paid attorney to represent you without first investigating him/her.

Of course, you may not need the best lawyer, but you should at least want to insure that the lawyer you choose is a good lawyer for the matter at hand. You should also realize that a lawyer may be a good lawyer for some matters and not for others. This is where knowledge, experience and ability must be weighed and examined. Does the firm or attorney you are considering take a “no holds barred” approach to family law? If so, be prepared for lengthy and expensive proceedings.

You should investigate a pre-paid lawyer as diligently as you would any other lawyer and ask the same questions. If the lawyer does not devote a significant portion of his/her practice to the area of law involved in your matter, you should look elsewhere. If the lawyer does not have a good reputation within the legal community, you should look elsewhere. If the lawyer cannot point to articles written or cases won, if he/she cannot point to client testimonials, you should look elsewhere.

Once you have done your homework and selected the lawyer and law firm you believe will best serve your needs and protect your needs and protect your interests, you could still make costly mistakes in hiring your lawyer.

MISTAKES AFTER YOU HAVE SELECTED A LAWYER

NOT ASKING FOR A WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT While oral contracts are recognized at law, enforcement can be problematic and requires proof of the essential terms. Without a written fee agreement, how can you be sure that you and your lawyer have truly reached an understanding? Basic contract law requires that there be a “meeting of the minds” to create a contract. It speaks of “an offer” and “an acceptance”. A written fee agreement serves to clarify and solidify the expectations of the client and the attorney. The agreement should spell out the responsibilities of each party and the parameters of the representation. This protects you and your lawyer. Written fee agreements are recommended by the Virginia State Bar and by the American Bar Association. If your lawyer does not bring up the subject of a written fee agreement or representation agreement, you should do so.

NOT ASKING TO READ A DOCUMENT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT. Whether it’s the fee agreement, a lease, an affidavit or a pleading, just because the document is presented to you by your lawyer, does not mean you should not read it carefully and ask questions about anything you do not understand. If the document is not correct or contains errors or omissions, you should bring those to the attention of your lawyer.

FAILURE TO ASK FOR A COPY OF WHAT YOU SIGN. You should always ask for a copy of a document that you are asked to sign. In our office, when we are retained, we give the client a pocket folder with copies of the fee agreement, office policies and, in appropriate cases, the client divorce manual.

FAILURE TO KEEP COPIES. You should have a safe place to keep important documents. If documents are from an attorney, they are important and worth keeping, at least until the case or matter is concluded and in some instances longer than that. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t keep the copies, you may not be able to get duplicates later. Believe it or not, I have had several clients over the years who were victims of unscrupulous lawyers who destroyed documents to avoid having to produce them when a conflict arose with the client. One actually shredded file documents in front of the client. Aside from those issues, most lawyers do not retain client files forever. In our office, we routinely shred aging closed files to make room for new files. We advise clients to retrieve anything they might want or need from their file when it is closed, because it is subject to destruction.

FAILURE TO ASK QUESTIONS. You should ask a lawyer you are considering who he/she would hire for a case such as yours. You should ask the lawyer you are considering questions about his/her experience and credentials. Can they point to satisfied clients who have given testimonials of their experiences with the lawyer and law firm? Who besides the lawyer will be working on your case? How do they handle telephone calls? How do they charge? What does the lawyer expect of you? How will he/she keep you informed of progress on your case? How does he/she plan to present your case/defense? You should ask questions about court procedures or other procedures pertaining to your case or legal matter. If there are terms that you do not understand, ask your lawyer to explain them to you.

FAILURE TO STAY IN TOUCH. If you move or change employment or telephone numbers, your lawyer may not be able to reach you to communicate about your case. It is important to keep your lawyer abreast of changes in your circumstances, employment and residence contact information.

FAILURE TO PROVIDE A CELL PHONE NUMBER. This is related to the failure to keep in touch. Depending on the nature of the representation, your lawyer may need to be able to reach you quickly. It is frustrating to the lawyer not to be able to reach you and it can adversely impact your case. You should take steps to insure that your attorney is able to reach you and speak with you promptly or within an hour or two. For example, suppose your lawyer is engaged in a negotiation in your behalf. If he/she is unable to reach you at a critical point in negotiation, it could result in “blowing” the negotiation or losing the deal.

In today’s world of instant communication, there is no reason not to facilitate communication with your lawyer.

What mistakes could have been avoided in the Tale of the Nine Year Divorce?

INVESTIGATION-The client could have investigated the lawyer before hiring him. She could have googled him. She could have interviewed more than one lawyer. She could have asked another lawyer who was the best divorce lawyer for a contested case with allegations of adultery and property issues. She could have asked the lawyer for client testimonials or client expressions of their experiences with him.

WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT-She could have asked for a written fee agreement and a receipt for her retainer. Or she could have written the lawyer a letter setting out her understanding of the representation and of the fee charged or to be charged in the matter and the application of the retainer which she had paid, retaining a copy of the letter for her file.

QUESTIONS-She could have asked the lawyer how he charges and how much he would estimate the case would cost. She could have asked if he had experience with opposing counsel and if he was afraid of her or if he felt confident he could handle the case, despite opposing counsel. She could have asked what to expect and she could have asked about the procedure in a contested Virginia divorce.

She could have asked the lawyer what strategy he planned to use to defend her and how he planned to take her case on the offensive. She could have asked the lawyer how he planned to keep her abreast of developments and progress in her case and how long he estimated it would take to get to final hearing in the case. She could have asked him how he planned to enforce the spousal support order and what could be done to collect the money.

When the lawyer got a court order of attorney’s fees from her husband for $10,000, she could have questioned the lawyer about what he was doing and why. She could have asked for an itemization of charges and whether or not she would be responsible if her husband did not pay.

She could have consulted another attorney or the State Bar to ask about what was going on and what rights she had as a client.

COMMUNICATION – She could have made a greater effort to remain in touch with the lawyer and to keep him abreast of changes in her circumstances, such as her accident and being out of work due to disability from the accident. When time passed without hearing from the lawyer, she could have telephoned the lawyer. When the lawyer failed to return her telephone calls, she could have scheduled an appointment to see him or written him documenting his failure to return her telephone call and asking for a status report and what the next step would be.

When the lawyer began to demand money from the woman, she should have responded to the bills and letters in writing with questions about the charges. She could have demanded an itemization of charges and an accounting of the retainer which she had paid.

SECOND OPINION – When she became dissatisfied with the progress of her case, she could have sought a second opinion and considered changing counsel before the lawyer moved to withdraw from the case, or at least before the lawyer filed suit over the fees. In fact, when the case was dismissed by the court for inaction, she should have sought a second opinion and considered changing counsel and asking for the return of her retainer.

(c) 2009 by Virginia Perry, J.D. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part for personal, non-commercial use, provided the following language is included: “This copy right article/material is reproduced with the permission of the author, Virginia Perry, J.D.”

Virginia Perry, JD is a licensed Virginia attorney and has been actively engaged in the general practice of law with an emphasis on family law and trials for over 30 years.

Get Familiar With Lawyers

Plenty of law firms are spread out all over the world. It is not easy to say the main specialization of these lawyers as they deal with a wide range of legal branches. The legal system in the city is such that it accommodates the need of both small and large law firms, thus anyone can get access to the available lawyers. Lawyers dealing with controversial issues in the city of Manchester such as abortion and assisted suicide are more in demand today than they have ever been.

Lawyers dealing with medical cases are highly in demand our world. This is due to the complexities that surround medical issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, or misdiagnosis. Therefore, if you are choosing a lawyer whom you need to support you with legal cases of this type, then there are some vital factors that you should consider, to make the best of your case. The first of course is the type of law firm that your will outsource your lawyer from, this matters because it will determine the cost of the entire legal process. Large law firms with extensive operations will tend to have higher legal costs and may sometimes have the best lawyers. Smaller firms may cost you less and may be more willing to take your case more personally. These are just variables, and it is important to do background research as to the best lawyer you can get for your medical case.

Lawyers who specialize as medical or clinical solicitors are and should be members of the Law Society. This is a certification that they are qualified to represent you in an exclusively medical legal case. It is important to find out whether these two bodies recognize the lawyer you choose.

 

A Lawyers Guide to Turning Down Work

I’m a lawyer. I really am. I have been for 26 plus years. I’ve always been able to attract clients and must have done a competent job for most of them since I’ve had a lot of repeat business. This doesn’t make me an expert on business development, as we call it. Honestly, I’m not sure how best to go about that. Moreover, the legal world is chock full of advice on building your practice, marketing and generating new business. It’s doubtful that I have much to add to that vast sea of information, or misinformation, as the case may be.

I once worked in a law firm that was concerned to the point of obsession about generating new business. “Origination” was the term they used. If one “originated” enough business, he or she became a “rainmaker,” the most valuable of all lawyers, regardless of legal acumen or lack thereof. The rules regarding origination credit were Byzantine and ever-changing. For example, you might think you deserved credit for a new client, only to find out that aged partner had represented an employee of the company on a DUI many years ago. Thus, he was entitled to the credit. After all, he had planted the seed decades ago. As one of my partners once noted: “The Origination rules aren’t written down. That’s understandable since they change every day.”

Although I have created my share of personal marketing plans, I claim no expertise. I’ve thought both outside and inside the box. I’ve been proactive. I’ve networked. I’ve schmoozed and small-talked. I’ve even found time to practice quite a bit of law. None of this sets me apart from other lawyers.

The one area where I believe I have something to contribute is in turning down business or knowing when existing business is turning sour. For a long time, I wasn’t good at this, much to my chagrin. Now, though, I know the red flags that warn me to stay far away from a potential client or to at least understand my situation. I’ll share a few of those with you.

1. PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL

At least that’s what it says somewhere in the Bible. It doesn’t really apply here, but I like saying it. Any the who, it goes without saying that we don’t want to represent folks who will refuse to pay us. Now, this is different from a client who suddenly can’t pay. I’ve represent several clients–individuals and companies–who sunk into dire finances during my representation of them. This is a professional risk. It’s happened to some of my favorite clients.

The ones I’m talking about are the ones who won’t pay. Here’s a bad sign: You are the third lawyer they’ve hired on a particular matter. This is a person who doesn’t play well with others. Just as important, this person has had bad relationships with other lawyers. Why? It probably has something to do with money. Ask this potential client if he owes the other lawyers money. If the answer is “yes,” run! A client that will stiff one lawyer will do it to you. At least ask for an upfront deposit against your fees. If they aren’t willing to invest in their case, you shouldn’t either.

Related to this is the client who doesn’t want to discuss your bills. Oh, he or she paid you regularly for a while, then slowed a bit and finally stopped paying. You ask about it and are told that the client will be caught up soon. Don’t worry. When you hear that, worry. A lot.

Lawyers are an odd breed. We don’t like to push our clients about bills. Perhaps we are embarrassed by the amounts we bill. Maybe it’s just an uncomfortable topic. Regardless, when you don’t confront, it gets worse. It’s Business 101 that the older a bill gets, the less likely it is to ever get paid.

The question, of course, is: When is enough enough? There’s no way to state of rule of thumb here. Large law firms are able to carry large receivables for a long time. Small firms like mine can’t. Here is an exchange which should end your representation immediately (I’ve had some variation of this multiple times):

Lawyer: Carl, we need to talk about your bills. We haven’t been paid in six months, and we need to get this caught up.

Client: I know. I know. We have cash flow problems, but we’re working on it. I don’t know when we’ll be able to get caught up, but we’re good for it.

Lawyer: I appreciate that, but we can’t commit substantial time and expense without some assurance of getting paid.

Client: What do you mean? Are just going to quit on me?

Lawyer: I don’t want to do that, but I’ll have to if we can’t get paid.

Client: You’ve insulted me. If you don’t want to work on the case, that’s fine…

See what we have here? You–a business person–have addressed the most basic need of your business–income. Your client is insulted by the prospect of having to pay you. You must run from this client with all haste. If you don’t, don’t expect to ever get paid again.

2. DON’T REPRESENT CATS

Of course, it’s well-known that there are no cat herds. Cats don’t do that. They just scatter about. Some of your clients are like that. They aren’t dogs. They don’t have a leader. They are cats, scurrying about with no one in charge. These are not good clients.

The Cat Client comes in various forms–corporations, families, virtually any collective of people. No one is in charge. The point person, your “client contact,” as we call it, seems to be the boss until real decisions have to be made. Then, no one is in charge. In a corporation, you may hear from the President, the CFO, the in-house attorney or the janitor. They all have differing views on the goals to be achieved. If you need a question answered quickly, good luck.

I’ve represented several churches in my career. Each was a fine organization headed by fine people, but no one was in charge. The minister works for the church at the pleasure of the Elders or whatever group is supposed to be in charge. That group has no leader. They make decisions as a collective. Getting direction is almost impossible. You’ll end up frustrated, and so will they.

Families are even more difficult. Most families are like mine and have no structure whatsoever. No one is in charge, and they like it like that.

Here’s what you do. At the first sign of cat-like behavior, set some ground rules. A contact person is a good start. Get a list of folks who need to be updated on your case. You might have to paper or email them into submission, but it’s worth it. Better to keep too many in the loop than not enough.

3. IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY

“This isn’t about the money. It’s the principle.” These words send a chill up the spine of all experienced attorneys. It is, after all, about the money–at least most of the time. The sooner your client comes to that realization, the better off you both will be.

Unless it’s a criminal case or, possibly, a divorce, it’s all about the money. If you sue someone, you want money. If you’ve been sued, you don’t want to pay money. In fact, you may not even want to pay your own lawyer.

Let’s say your client is in a $500 dispute. A good lawyer (or even a bad one who wants to get paid) explains that the client will pay the lawyer far more than $500. If the client responds that he or she would rather pay the lawyer, you must pause, tamp down your greed and repeat your cautionary warning. Slowly and clearly.

If your client persists, go forward but be realistic. At some point, your client will realize that it is, in fact, about the money after all. When they owe you more than they do the adversary or more than they can possibly recover, they’ll know it’s about the money. At that point, you may well be the adversary.

4. THEY DON’T REALLY WANT A LAWYER

Given the general public’s disdain for the legal profession, it isn’t surprising that a lot of people–maybe most–don’t want to hire a lawyer. This is especially true of trial lawyers. There is a subtle but important difference between needing one and wanting one.

Good clients want to hire you. They want your advice and expertise. Some folks–thankfully a small percentage–hire you only because they must. They do not recognize you as having any specialized knowledge or skill. Indeed, these clients are prevented from doing your job only because of their dearth of education and lack of professional credentials. Nevertheless, they know how to do your job better than you do.

They’ll plot strategy for you. They know the best witnesses. They even know the questions you should ask during depositions and trials. During trial, they will hand you helpful notes such as “Ask him if he’s lying!” They will disagree with you about the law. You will calmly explain a basic concept such as the abolition of Debtor’s Prison, and they will contend that it is unfair. You will explain that a certain position is not legally sound, and your client will disagree based upon nothing more than his or her idea of what the law should be.

This client will not be pleased with your work. Monday Morning Quarterbacks rarely are. If you are prepared for this, by all means go forth. Such clients are best represented once. The good news is that their displeasure with you likely means that they will move on to new lawyer anyway (See Item No. 1 above).

I suppose other professions deal with similar issues. Perhaps cancer patients demand that their oncologists provide certain medications or ask to assist in surgery. In that case, I’m sure the doctor will continue to prescribe what is best. Lawyers must do the same. Keep advising even if your advice is ignored. Besides, isn’t it just a wee bit satisfying to get to say “I told you so!”?

5. BE A CRIMINAL LAWYER, NOT A LAWYER CRIMINAL

Criminals are entitled to lawyers just like everyone else. That’s one of the great things about America. Even if you are guilty, the government still has to prove its case against you.

Where a lawyer gets off base is when he or she becomes the criminal. Hey, if your client breaks the law, it’s your job to help. By that, I mean help defend your client, not help your client break the law. It’s real simple: If your client is doing something illegal, strongly advise against it, and don’t participate in it.

It’s bad when your client goes to prison. It’s worse when you go, too.

6. YOU WANT A WHAT?

Sometimes, people aren’t looking for a lawyer. They want a “bulldog” or “pit bull.” Someone once told me that he was looking for “Someone who will get down in the gutter and fight to the death. Win at all costs!” Beware of folks like this. Why?

First, if your self-image is that of an animal or you imagine yourself wallowing in the gutter, you may need therapy. Second, this type of talk is often code for: “I want an unethical and, if necessary, dishonest lawyer.” Third, they want you to engage in all manner of harassing shenanigans that will likely make their fees grow exponentially. Then, you run into Item Nos. 1 and 3 above.

The best lawyers I’ve known are polite and professional. They zealously represent their client like human beings, not animals. They don’t harangue their opponents or needlessly fight about every detail.

If you need a lawyer, I’m your man. If you need a dog, go to the Humane Society.

7. DEVELOP A NUT ALLERGY

I can’t emphasize this enough. It is, after all, the most important point of all. Nuts need and want lawyers just like regular people. In fact, many nuts require legal representation far more than normal people. This is because they are frequently embroiled in controversies in which only nutty people are involved. Identifying nuts, however, is most difficult.

Here’s one sign: There’s a conspiracy. A large group of people (often the Government) have conspired against your client. These conspiracies can involve the judiciary and all other levels of government. Remember: If there really is a conspiracy–which does happen sometimes, it will usually be pretty easy to crack. If it is hidden under layers of impenetrable silence, consider this very real possibility: It isn’t true.

Another sign: Vast amounts of paper. I have had cases involving hundreds of thousands of documents. Believe it or not, that’s not uncommon. What is uncommon is a client who presents you with piles of irrelevant paper. Often, these papers are carried around in their pockets or cars. You don’t know what they mean. Neither does your client. But they are important.

A final sign: The case no one will take. This is a potential client who describes to you an impossibly lucrative case which no lawyer will take. These cases involve millions of dollars. There’s usually a conspiracy and a mountain of irrelevant paperwork associated with the case. Here are few real life examples that I’ve either heard about or experienced myself:

The Spindletop Oil Fortune: This is a claim that someone is an heir to the Spindletop Oil fortune in Texas. The person has proof through some dizzying array of paperwork. Judges have been throwing these cases out of court for years. Here’s a practice pointer: This person is not an heir.

The DeGroot Patents: These are a series of 19th Century land patents from the Commonwealth of Kentucky under which someone claims vast mineral resources. You are likely to find that they are junior patents, inferior to the entire rest of the world’s claims.

Forced Homosexuality: This was a guy who sued Eastern Airlines (and many others) for being involved in a nationwide conspiracy to force him into homosexuality.

Nigerians: These folks really need lawyers, usually to help transfer funds stolen from some government enterprise. If you fall for this one, you deserve it.

Often, you won’t know your client is a nut until deep into the representation. Be patient. They will rarely see things your way. Remember that if they ever come back around

Lawyers – Tips on Choosing the Best

Many women in the world, (and a growing number of men!) have confessed to being shopaholics; no matter how far into their overdraft they are, they simply cannot resist going shopping for one more pair of shoes, and then a jacket to match those shoes, and then a scarf to go with that jacket, and then…you get the picture.

However, when it comes to shopping around for a lawyer, it is doubtful that that same social group of shopaholics feel the same buzz as they do when they walk down the high street. Despite the fact that it may not be as exciting as shopping for new clothes, choosing the best lawyer is often infinitely more important than what is in fashion this season.

Now, people may require a lawyer for all sorts of reasons; maybe you have crashed your wife’s car and want to assess the legal costs without her finding out, or maybe you were the person that he crashed into and want to see if you can claim damages!

There are so many areas of the law in which the general public may require a lawyer, it is difficult to pick one specific area to focus on; however, if you follow this general advice when choosing a lawyer, then you shouldn’t go far wrong.

Now, the first thing to consider is your budget; you may want to hire this lawyer that a wealthy acquaintance has recommended to you, but if it is going to drain your finances then it is not really worth considering. Find a realistic price range to work within and try to stick to that as best you can.

Secondly, you are looking for a lawyer, not a friend; no matter how much you may get on, laughing and joking with your lawyer, if they are not right for your case, then it is time to look for a new one. Remember, it is your case that is there to be won or lost, so this is a time to be ruthless.

Finally, the best thing to do is to compare the entire market of lawyers to ensure that you get the best deal for you; internet sites now offer matching services for you to compare and contrast the various pros and cons of lawyers, before you settle on a final choice.

Are There Right and Wrong Ways to Look For a Divorce Lawyer?

There may not be right and wrong ways to look for a divorce lawyer, as such. However, there are some ways to look for a divorce lawyer that are more effective than others. Normally if you are looking for a divorce lawyer you are going to be in a very emotional state. Ending a marriage is never an easy thing to consider. The longer you have been married the more difficult it is to consider. For this reason alone you need to be especially careful when choosing a lawyer to represent you.

When you are looking for a divorce lawyer, you want to be sure to talk to them in person. This may seem like a no-brainer, but with the prevalence of the internet and on-line searches, talking to an actual person has become more elusive. If you are doing an online search for family lawyers or divorce lawyers as they are also known, make sure you add the name of the city where you live. This will get you results for local lawyers. Make a list of phone numbers and addresses so that you can contact them in person.

Prepare a list of questions to ask them before you call. This is just common sense; you already know that you are upset and emotional about the subject of your divorce, so plan ahead what you want to ask. Questions like how long have you been in business, do you handle all divorce cases or do you have partners that work with you, or what is your success rate on divorce cases. You could also ask if they have any customer testimonials you could see.

Try to put your emotions aside for a few minutes and pay attention to their expression and how easily they answer your questions. People say that eye contact is an important measure of whether someone is telling you the truth, and it can be, unfortunately con-artists know that as well. You may not know what a good success rate is for their cases. However, if you talk to a lawyer that tells you they have a 100% success rate, keep right on looking. Even the best lawyer in the world will have a few losses.

In the end, it is going to be a matter of who you feel you can trust. When you are hiring a lawyer to represent you, you have to be able to trust them. You have to feel in your heart that they will do everything they can to get the best results for you. Finding a lawyer you can trust may be especially difficult at this time because you do not trust your own feeling very much. Once you have narrowed down the list of divorce lawyers, talk to your friends and see if they have heard of them. A personal referral from someone you know is usually a good place to start.

The Top Lawyers in Canada

The top lawyers in Canada typically work in the law firms which have offices across the border in the US. Three of these firms are Stikeman Elliot L.L.P., Torys L.L.P. and Blake, Cassels and Graydon L.L.P. While there are many lawyers in the US who are specialists in Canadian law, the same can not be said of Canadian lawyers on the whole.

Top Canadian lawyers work in the fields of finance, business and energy rather than family law. And as the environment and preservation of the wildernesses of Canada is important, many top lawyers are environmental lawyers. Among the best of these is Dianne Saxe who in the Best Lawyers edition of 2010 was listed in the category Best Lawyers in Canada in the specialty of Environmental Law.

Other top lawyers deal with First Nations of Canada and the best of Canada’s lawyers figure prominently in Lexpert, which is the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory which gives details of Canada’s leading lights in the legal field. Anyone wanting to find the best lawyers in Canada would do well to peruse this directory.

Lawyers who work for the law firm of Stikeman Elliot figure quite highly in this directory several being considered experts in the field of Energy, with Erik Richer La Flèche recognized in Euromoney’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Project Finance Lawyers” and named as a “leading lawyer” in the project finance sector of the IFLR “Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms.” He also figures in the International Who’s Who of Public Procurement Lawyers, so he is amongst the best of lawyers in Canada.

Another of Stikeman Elliot’s leading lights is John W. Leopold who is a senior partner of the firm. He is one of the “Thirty Most Influential Private Equity Attorneys” in the world, according to the November 2006 edition of the Private Equity International magazine and the only Canadian lawyer listed in that top thirty.

Many family lawyers across Canada employ female lawyers as a plus point, as do other law firms in many other countries, as it seems that females are thought to be more understanding of family issues than men, or at least it seems that the general public would rather have a female family lawyer than a male one. There are many top female lawyers in Canada who specialize in family law, and looking through the directory mentioned above will help you to find any top lawyer in Canada if you have need of one.

Attorney Search Firm – Link to Americas Best Lawyers

The United States is the legal capital of the world in the sense that you can find most of the legal professionals around here: attorney, legal headhunter, legal assistant and many others. This makes the essence of attorney search firm doubly important. On a daily basis, thousands of cases of various nature, shapes and sizes are being litigated and decided. The country also holds the distinction of being the most number of lawful actions being processed each year. In other words, we have so many people practicing the noble profession for all possible legal needs.

The basic concept of our justice system is such that nobody is above the law. You are answerable for your actions no matter what is your social predisposition, your position in the social ladder and your connections to the high and powerful do not really matter. The rule of law is what actually governs our daily activities. There are laws for jaywalking, parking, business, and sports and even for the church. The rub here is that once you get accused for violating any provisions of the law, you are deemed innocent until proven otherwise. This is the best chance for you to defend your case if you are really innocent. And of course, you need a capable lawyer to defend you.

In the field of business, the services of these eligible professionals are most important than anywhere else. The American companies based in the U.S. are under the jurisdiction of American constitution, federal regulations, state laws and other merchandising rules. This is why corporations and companies need to look for able professionals who can provide them excellent services even during peace time. By peace time, it means that even during the time when there is no ongoing litigation against or for a particular company. Most companies actually hire an attorney search firm to help them seek the best battery of lawyers who can protect the companies’ interests.

It is the duty of this firm to scout for the range of legal professionals with enough experience and commendable track record to defend a case. A certain company may need more than just one lawyer. For instance, there should be an in-house counsel who will help in interpreting various regulations and laws that governed that company.

The headhunter is the one who will check the overall qualification of these professionals to be hired. He/she should not only be good in terms of his grasp to a certain specialization. He/she should also be trustworthy with the privacy and confidentiality nature of the company. Above all, the attorney search firm will see to it that the hired lawyers are capable of working for a certain company on a long-term basis for the interest of both parties.

Tips To Select The Best Lawyer

In the present scenario, each lawyer is specialized in some or the other field. That is, today, the lawyers have diversified to exclusively deal only with certain specific aspects of law.

So, when you need for to hire a lawyer for legal counseling, make sure you choose the one who is an expert on what you need.

While hiring, look for experience and qualifications. Do not do the mistake of hiring a lawyer based on his age, good looks, charm, nice office, or polite receptionist!

Here are some basic guidelines that will help you to select a good lawyer:

o First of all, a thorough survey should be made. This can be done by surfing the net, looking at yellow pages or by asking the Bar Association for suggestions. Once the survey is done, you can make a short list of lawyers who may suit your budget.

o It is necessary to know all the essential professional details of the lawyers. For instance, you should know for how long the lawyer has been in practice, the number of cases handled in the field you require, and the success rate etc.

o Make sure that the lawyer you hire is sincere and handles the case himself. After all, you are going to pay him for his work and not for the work of his juniors!

o When you go to meet with the lawyer, go prepared with a file on your case and a list of relevant questions that can help you to judge whether the lawyer is perfect.

o Make sure that your lawyer does not have any complaints filed against him in the past.

o Also, find out from the World Wide Web whether the lawyer is a member of local, state, or national associations. He can be a fraud!

Bear in mind that locating an ideal lawyer is not as easy as cutting a cake. It may take several weeks of your time and effort.

Finding The Best Lawyer – What You Should Know

A lawyer is an individual who has specific attributes and traits in order to excel in the field of law. He should be able to articulate effectively in order to be successful against the opposing parties as well as to impress his client. Another trait that he must have is intelligence. He must be someone who is smart enough to know how to win the case, what to do, as well as when to do it. These are just a few of the important traits and attributes of a legal professional. If you are looking for a reliable lawyer, there some important things which you need to know. Read on and find out more.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Lawyer?

1. Diligence – He must be able to act promptly towards handling his client’s case. An attorney must be able to manage his caseload; every case should be given adequate attention.

2. Maintain Confidentiality – A good lawyer is someone who knows the value of case confidentiality. He must not disclose anything regarding his client unless he is given the consent to do so.

3. Competency – It is always a must that he is able to handle his client’s case with the needed skills and knowledge to do ample research as necessary. He must be up to date on any changes in the law. To be able to win the case, there are various legal documents which must be drafted. Although legal secretaries or paralegals can help him, most lawyers prefer to do them on their own.

4. Communication – A lawyer must keep the line of communication open between him and his client. He should inform his client regarding any decision they need to make. He also needs to respond to his client’s requests for information and inform them regarding the status of their case. In addition, he also spends ample time sending emails, negotiating, talking on the phone, and faxing important documents to and from the concerned parties.

5. Advising – He also acts as an adviser. A good lawyer is able to counsel his clients regarding any topic related to the case.

Finding a Lawyer for Your Needs

In today’s modern world where there are hundreds of scammers and frauds, you probably think that finding the best attorney who can represent your case is a daunting task. However, you must keep in mind that you can always find a reliable legal representative or attorney who can win your case.

Each of them specializes in a particular area or field. Some are personal injury attorneys while others are into the finance law. You have the freedom to determine what type of lawyer that suits your needs. In choosing a lawyer who will represent your case, years of experience and background are important aspects to consider.

Choose the Best Lawyer to Represent a Cruise Ship Injury

There are many different types of injuries that a person could sustain while they are taking a cruise. Not one of them is acceptable though. The staff on these large water vessels should ensure that a cruise ship injury does not occur while someone is vacationing.

There are many different reasons that people go on vacation for, but being injured is not one of them. Some of these could be caused by a slip and fall because of water on the deck or other reasons. No two injuries are going to be the same either.

The cruise line should be paying for any medical expenses that are incurred because of any injury. They should ensure that the person who got hurt is being well-taken care of too. Not all of these companies feel this way though.

Sometimes, it requires people to hire one of the best lawyers that they can find. There are many different types of lawyers in every area of the world. People need to find one that they can count on to win their case though. Otherwise, they will have a lot of medical bills that they could be paying on for their entire life.

Some of the best lawyers are difficult to find. Many of them have a large case load too. Because each case is going to be handled differently, they may put a limit on the number of cases that they are representing at one time. Not all of them will do this though.

There are a lot of things that need to be done prior to filing a lawsuit against a company like this. There is a lot of paperwork that is necessary also. Having proof that the injury was caused there will be extremely important.

While some people who are injured may need a few stitches and can be on their way. Other people may have lengthy hospital stays or a lifetime of disabling pain and surgeries. The type of injury and the circumstances are going to be determined when considering the best way to take on the case and present it to the courts.

It is important to have enough evidence and documentation to get the full compensation. Some lawyers may suggest getting these things around before filing anything too. While most companies have their own lawyers that represent their company for every kind of lawsuit, it is important to know that they will fight back in most cases.

There are a lot of companies who choose to settle these things outside of the courts. They will take care of their passengers and make sure that everything that they need is within their reach. If they say they need something, they get it. They also insist that they go to the best doctors.

Other companies see the dollar amount that will be going out and not the person’s pain and suffering. An injury can bankrupt some companies so they will fight it in court. Many times, they will end up paying it but they try to get away with saying that it was not their fault that the person got hurt and such things as that. Liability lawsuits can be very hard to win when you are the defendant.

Most of the time, a lawsuit for a cruise ship injury does not get filed unless they have enough evidence. While not every passenger or employee that gets hurt aboard a ship will file a lawsuit, it is an option for them. Some people have no choice because they cannot pay the medical bills on their own. This is why a lawyer has to be there to help them with this process to ensure that they will win by utilizing as many resources as possible.

Many of the attorneys that are hired can take on several of the cases that they are offered but if they are not qualified to handle the issues related to maritime injuries and cruise ships, they may not be able to help win the case. These claims are much different than just a personal injury claim. It is important to use the right strategy and be able to stand up for their client. Crewmember & Maritime Advocacy Center has a lot of experience in handling claims from crewmembers and cruise ship passengers.

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