When you, or someone you are close to, has been hurt or injured, it can be a very rough and troubling time for everyone involved. Legal representation, or finding a lawyer, is the last thing on anyone’s mind; however it should be one of the first.
For some the thought of contacting a lawyer can send shivers down spines, and bring thoughts of black briefcases, black suits, and even blacker hearts, but you can be assured that this stereotype of the legal profession is just that. A stereotype. This image of the rule bending, untrustworthy lawyer that sees you as nothing but a walking dollar bill, just simply isn’t the truth for most lawyers. Maybe a few, but not many. The few may be responsible for the bad image promoted by big money wrongdoers that don‘t want you to trust ANY lawyers. Because of the few, it is important you do your home work.
The truth is that most lawyers are willing to help you in your time of need and see to it that your rights as guaranteed by this nation are protected. Lawyers are specially trained to have the knowledge and details of the law that most lay-persons are not expected or required to have, and this knowledge can help you, the client, in gaining appropriate justice in many circumstances.
Some might be intimidated or impressed by the multitude of park benches, billboards, and TV ads, that depict a lawyer yelling in a court room, throwing a legal book on a desk, or even boxing a heavy bag. However, don’t be quick to dial the easiest number that you come across or the catchiest jingle. Lawyers, although usually competent in many areas of law, should have a specialty that will suit your needs specifically. It’s not always the best idea to go after the biggest firm, or the most impressive commercial.
Most lawyers are referred by word of mouth. This means that the people that are referring you to them have had direct contact and experiences with them. This is a great way to get a feel of what the lawyer is like, and how he (or she) conducts cases. Most legal problems that the normal person will run across are auto accidents, workers compensation, criminal charges, or other tort actions (such as slip and falls). For these situations, word of mouth in the community will be a good starting point to find your way around. However, what happens if you need to know how to set up a business in China under the Delaware Corporation Code? You might need a specialist that your neighbor can’t’ suggest. For this there are a multitude of lawyer referral services available online, including this blog you are viewing right now. Get started by browsing by location, or searching for a topic or practice area of interest or importance to you.
When you have finally arrived at whom you would think can give you appropriate representation, you should, or the lawyer will organize an introductory meeting for the two of you. Often there will be no charge to you, or a minimal fee. You may also be able to discuss your problem over the phone for no charge. This is all dependent on the lawyer and the firm you are dealing with. Remember that you are assured confidentiality in all of these discussions. Make sure that you are confident in your lawyer, and feel free to “shop around” a bit. Taking the time to go to two or three lawyers so you can make an informed decision will help you and your representation in the long run. Don’t be tricked by flashy ads, catch phrases, or large mahogany desks and rows of book shelves.
As always, take the time, make an informed decision, and be confident in your lawyer.