What to Look for When Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer »
If you must hire a bankruptcy lawyer, make sure you choose one with the necessary experience to get you out of debt. Learn how to …
If you must hire a bankruptcy lawyer, make sure you choose one with the necessary experience to get you out of debt. Learn how to …
A personal injury lawyer can help defendants in a variety of situations, from car accidents to defamation. Learn what personal inj…
If you're low on money and cannot afford a lawyer, you can seek out an attorney that will handle your case for free. Familiarize y…
THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ON "REAL" LAWYERS: Recently I got into a bit of trouble. I've NEVER been in trouble before. It was one of those nights I've heard people say before like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A night out that you never intended to end up that way. Not nearly as bad as that movie "The Hangover" but similar as I woke up in Jail and had no clue how I got there! There I was in SERIOUS trouble with the law! I had to act immediately and I hired a lawyer that was recommended to me by a friend and without doing any research I hired him desperately...BIG mistake! Eventually I found out he was just wanting my money and telling me the things I wanted to hear at the time. After an appearance in court, I started finding out the information he gave me was not completely correct. Questioning him on it, he told me he would get back to me. I then had to follow up with his assistance several times with NO response from him! It was a firm and I never got the same lawyer on my court dates. I knew I was in trouble and I was SCARED! I eventually had to fire him after meeting with him about a list of complaints and misinformation that was given to be by the firm. He was what I later found out to be a paper-pusher type lawyer. The type that tell you all the magical BS words and mind games to make you feel like they care but really they want to do what will get them the most money and leave you with the outcome to your case that will make it easiest for them. This was a very reputable firm and I could believe how disappointed i was. This was my LIFE! I needed a lawyer to take it that seriously! Could this be the BEST I could hope for? I fired him and started searching for the "Real Lawyers." My search started online as I did as much research about my case and trying to select the right lawyer to interview. I soon found out that it was going to be tougher than I expected. After much research I narrowed my search down to three lawyers. The first was like my original lawyer that I had just fired promising me everything he could do and saying how easy this was all going to be. How easily he could win my case for about the same fee. The Second lawyer was charging a lot more money for my case and told me how difficult my case was going to be. He pointed out my charges and sternly asked if I knew the severity of them to the point of making me FEEL like I was guilty and a bad person. He promised to win my case but it was going to be tough and because of that it was going to cost more. The third lawyer was Chip Lewis and he turned out to be the one I would hire. Chip Lewis was the ONLY one to call me back himself. He also was the only one who looked into my case before he even met with me. The other lawyers told me to bring the paperwork with all the information I had. Chip took my case very serious and told me all the facts about what could happen to me with my case. His fee was just a little higher but realistic, and now I know he was worth every single penny! From the very beginning he was different than the others and worked with me side by side. I FINALLY felt like he was on my side and it wasn't me against my lawyer! It was US against the courts. He didn't make me any promises and told me he would work diligently to get me the very best outcome that we could get from the court. Chip Lewis had the knowledge and the wisdom to back up every single thing he told me to expect. He told me that it was innocent people like me who get lost in the system that he was working hard to try and protect. For several months he did work hard and showed up with me in court every single time. He called me back, not his assistant, and he worked hard for ME and HIM. In the end, he got both of my charges dismissed. It was a miracle and it was ALL because I hired a "REAL LAWYER" named Chip Lewis! Thank you Chip Lewis...thanks for my Life!
Terry & Thweatt is a God sent firm. I suffered severe burns to my stomach when I was eating at a fast food restaurant. I looked up injury attorneys located in the Texas City area and came across Terry & Thweatt, so I called them but was politely informed by Irene, one of the assistants, that their office is located in Houston. Irene continued to get information regarding my injuries and then transferred my call to one of the attorneys, Joseph Terry. I was able to get an appointment that same day. Terry explained the process that we would be involved in and let me know that it can be a long process. Attorney Joseph Terry was patient and answered all my questions + all my girlfriend’s questions and concerns. I decided to give them a try and man am I glad that I did. This firm is by far the most professional and friendly business that I have had to deal with. Not only are they friendly over the phone but in person too. I know that I am not the easiest person to deal with but Irene was persistent, friendly and professional throughout the whole case unlike other places that are only friendly the first time that you come in to sign the contract. I am very happy with the outcome of my case and the services that Terry & Thweatt provided me with. I highly recommend Terry & Thweatt, especially Joseph Terry to anyone that needs a lawyer for injuries that they suffer because he is so knowledgeable and efficient. THANK YOU Joseph Terry and Irene!
Mr. Akers and the Cogdell Law Firm represented me when I was charged with felony theft. I was accused of stealing a bag which contained items belonging to off-duty police officers. A felony conviction of this nature would have prevented me from practicing my chosen career. Due to the gravity of the charges against me, I knew that I needed immediate, proven and effective representation. Mr. Akers began gathering information about my case as soon as we ended our telephone conversation and was up to speed for our first meeting. He laid out the best case scenario as well as worst case scenario and his recommended plan to resolve the charges against me. Cordt and his firm kept me appraised to every step that occurred with my case. They were able to reschedule hearings for me when I was absolutely unable to travel to Harris County for them. Cordt was available to me whenever I needed to get into contact with him. When the prosecution would not budge, Cordt had informed me that he had already been preparing for trial, in case that was the route I chose to take. Ultimately Cordt was able to get the charges against me dismissed, for which I am truly grateful. Requiring a criminal defense attorney means you are already in a stressful and worrying situation. I recommend Cordt Akers to lift some weight off of your shoulders and to guide you through the legal system, returning a favorable outcome.
The legal profession is vast, with each attorney having his or her specialties. Here are some of the most common attorneys individuals seek out when they require legal aid:
A criminal defense lawyer is probably the attorney the average person imagines. Criminal attorneys are the men and women who defend individuals accused of a crime. The lawyer may work pro bono - for the public good - so the accused is certain to have representation, even if he or she cannot afford an attorney.
Criminal lawyers are experts in the criminal justice system. They help their clients decide how to plead when first charged by the police and guide them through trial procedures. Defense lawyers must use every bit of their knowledge and resources to get their clients the fairest results from criminal proceedings.
If you are a small business owner or the head of a larger corporation, you may come into contact with a business lawyer. Many big companies keep a legal staff on payroll to deal with the daily operations of running and maintaining a large enterprise. Business lawyers may have more specific specialties like copyright law, product liability and mergers and acquisitions.
Business attorneys may focus their practices on certain industries. There are entertainment lawyers to guide artists through royalties and media contracts, while hospitals employ malpractice attorneys to protect doctors from aggressive litigation.
When you work for a company, you may find yourself in need of an employment lawyer - especially if the relationship between you and your employer sours. An employment attorney prevents people from losing their jobs due to unfair reasons. Workers' compensation lawyers help maintain safe employment conditions and ensure workers receive fair compensation after workplace injury or discrimination.
A personal finance attorney can protect and manage your investments and securities. You may use a finance lawyer to help you prepare your taxes, but you might be better off working with an accountant. A tax attorney is more commonly contacted after a business or individual runs into trouble with the IRS or state regulators.
Real Estate Lawyer
Your family may keep a lawyer on retainer to guide you through the major expenses that come up in life. When buying a home, you could work with a real estate lawyer to make sure you get the best deal and won't get taken advantage of by tricky mortgage agreements or unfair landlords. An estate attorney can help you plan for the worst by creating a will and preparing your finances for after your death.
A bankruptcy lawyer is essential to help you resolve your financial difficulties when they start to spin out of control. Certain attorneys help create strategies to bring you out of debt and speak to your creditors. A lawyer can advise you on which type of bankruptcy you should file for.
If you are suing someone or being sued, you need a civil lawyer. Civil attorneys - and criminal lawyers - are the legal representatives who argue on your behalf in a courtroom setting. Civil lawyers may represent you on matters of business, finance or a wide variety of other specialized needs.
One of the most common types of civil attorneys is a personal injury lawyer. When you're hurt by an outside party and you would like to hold them legally responsible, a personal injury attorney conducts litigation and negotiates settlements to compensate for your pain and suffering. Sometimes many wronged people will join together with a single civil lawyer or law office to form a class action lawsuit.
Most people will turn to a lawyer during a divorce to navigate the emotionally charged legal proceedings. A divorce attorney can assist in determining grounds for separation, division of property and custody of children.
Family attorneys deal with much more personal matters. If you're getting married, a family lawyer can help you prepare a prenuptial agreement or other family planning paperwork such as adoption or inheritance documents.
To ensure you find a competent attorney who won't abuse your trust or drain your finances, you have to make the proper inquiries. There are several questions you should ask, but the majority will fall under three general topics:
Training and Experience Questions
One of the best ways to determine quality is to examine an attorney's history. When you first step into a lawyer's office, you should check for the appropriate certifications and diplomas. You have to ask how long he or she has practiced law and request information that demonstrates the practice's success. Look for precise details such as percentage of cases settled out of court.
Once you inquire about the broad details of their legal career, you should ask questions about their experience that pertains to your specific issue. You should ask how many similar cases they have handled and if they have special skills or training that applies specifically to your needs. Lawyers can't mention clients by name, but you should ask for basic details about identical past cases.
You need to ask about every possible fee that will come up when working with an attorney. You should request a list of all costs in advance so you won't be surprised by additional expenses like overhead. Also determine exactly when you will start being billed. You want to inspect paperwork carefully. If the attorney charges you for his or her experience, you need to make sure he or she will perform tasks personally and not hand it off to an assistant.
Find out if the attorney has a flat fee or charges by the hour. Many civil lawyers work on contingency. Whatever the payment plan, make inquiries about how the lawyer plans to provide service for your money and what you can do if you start to feel unsatisfied with his or her performance.
Lawyer/Client Relationship Questions
When you hire a lawyer, you're agreeing to work with someone over a certain period of time. You need to ask questions about how the attorney will communicate with you and what responsibilities you hold in the relationship. The attorney should let you know the best channel for quick communication and you need to inform him or her when you want updates.
You should also ask questions to get to know the attorney as an individual in order to ensure this is a person you can trust. Ask about their legal philosophy and how he or she views the lawyer/client relationship. Great questions to start off with are ones that will make your life easier, such as how to keep fees down or what daily disruptions you should expect from a long legal battle. The more forthcoming the lawyer appears to be with individual needs, the better.
You may keep a lawyer on retainer or you could turn to an attorney during specific situations. Here are some common reasons people begin seeking legal representation or advice:
You Know Your Limitations
If you sign documents and you come across a word you don't recognize, you need assistance. You may need a third party to help you navigate important employment or real estate paperwork. It's essential you fully understand the terms of any legally binding documentation or activity you become a part of. If you are not an expert in a given field, you'll want to hire an attorney who is.
A lawyer may find legal implications or opportunities you might miss. If you find yourself in a civil or criminal matter, a proper attorney ensures you don't receive a harsh punishment for a small mistake.
You're Facing an Important Event/Decision
When making decisions critical to your financial stability or personal life, you may want a lawyer with expertise in your situation to make sure you do everything you can to arrive at the proper resolution. This is especially true when you become involved in a criminal case and your freedom is on the line.
It's not just a matter of legal knowledge; lawyer's have access to numerous resources you do not. They have staff ready to work around the clock and experts in a variety of fields to give your important issues the attention they deserve.
You Can't Be Impartial
During times when personal matters intersect with legal proceedings, you may need to have an advocate to prevent your emotions from getting in the way of level-headed thinking. For example, divorce lawyers can mediate a heated argument and help both partners get on with their lives.
Emotional investment could be subtle. You may want to have a lawyer look over an investment opportunity that looks too good to be true or investigate the merits of a possible civil suit when you feel wronged.
You're Out of Options
Many people turn to lawyers when they are in trouble. If you've been accused of a crime or are in a terrible financial situation, you can find an attorney who will work with what you have available to assist you as you deal with your problems.
Personal injury lawyers find solutions for people who can no longer work under their own power and bankruptcy attorneys prevent people from giving in to debt. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't find a solution, a lawyer may be able to offer the counsel you need.
When it comes time to choose a lawyer, you should start by searching close to home. While you probably don't want the conflict of interest that comes from being represented by a family member, friends and loved ones can recommend lawyers who served them well in the past. If you do have attorneys you are familiar with, ask who they believe would be best for you.
After going through personal references - especially from individuals who had similar needs - you should broaden your search through public information resources. You can call your area's attorney referral service or check legal organizations like Martindale-Hubbell. There are other resources available online. You should check websites for client reviews and other third-party forms of approval.
When you build a list of possible candidates, perform a background check on each one. See if you can find information on their history and success record. Once you find a possible lawyer, you should call to arrange a consultation so you can ask your important questions in person.
By performing the necessary research and taking every available precaution, you can narrow your search to the attorney most suited to your needs.