What You Need to Know About Hiring a Lawyer
Need a Lawyer?
When you are facing a job loss or a crisis at work and need a lawyer, you may be full of questions, like . . .
What do I want to achieve?
What kind of lawyer am I looking for?
What am I getting into?
How does the process work?
Here are some of my tips for what to look for in a lawyer, and a few answers to these questions.
Find Someone you Trust
Hiring a lawyer to represent you in an employment dispute is a very personal thing. You’ve got to find someone who you trust and who makes you feel comfortable. You need to know that the lawyer understands what happened to you and understands what your goals are. And you need to feel like your lawyer is listening to you, is approachable and will be responsive to you.
Not every lawyer is a good match for every client. Every lawyer has a different personality and style and that personality and style may not mesh with yours. It does not mean that the lawyer is not a good lawyer. It just means that the lawyer is not a good lawyer for you.
Organize your Information.
After a job loss, it can be difficult to separate the emotions caused by the job loss from the facts of what happened. But it is really important to do that and to drill down to the actual facts of what happened.
Think like a journalist: who, what, when, where and why.
Before you meet with a lawyer, Distill the facts into an organized timeline of events and list of all of the people who play a part in your issue. This will help your lawyer figure out what legal claims may be available to you.
Think about Your Goals
What is the outcome you are looking for?
Think about it!
You may not have any idea what your goals are, but that is o.k. You may just want to meet with a lawyer to find out if you may have a claim so you can decide from there.
And you having given some thought as to what a good resolution looks like to you is very helpful to your lawyer.
Understand How Lawyers Charge for Their Services
Lawyers sell their time and their expertise by charging either an hourly rate or a contingent fee. An hourly rate is a fee for all time spent on the matter, usually billed in a tenth of an hour increment. A contingent fee means that you do not pay the lawyer until the lawyer obtains a recovery for you. When that happens, you pay an agreed upon percentage of your recovery to the lawyer as the fee.
Fitzgerald Law does both arrangements. In some cases, an hourly fee is the most appropriate way to charge for a matter. In other cases, our firm will take a case on a contingent fee basis. Whether using an hourly or contingency arrangement, we always require reimbursements for any out of pocket costs or expenses.
When we meet with potential clients, we charge an hourly for those consultations. Many times, clients come to me to see just to find out what their rights might be. Often, the client does not have a claim. In those cases, the office visit is just like a doctor’s office visit where the doctor tells you that you have a virus and to take a Tylenol. Because we provide valuable legal expertise in the consultation meeting, we charge for those visits. We found that our clients understand and appreciate this arrangement.
Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute
Do not procrastinate. If you think you might have an employment claim, you typically have a very short window of time to file a charge of discrimination or other kind of complaint. If you have been laid off or fired and offered a severance package, you will typically only have a few weeks before deciding whether to accept it or not. Lawyers can be busy. If you delay, you might not be able to get a meeting quickly. So, if you think you need to talk to an employment lawyer, reach out fast.