When to Call a Lawyer vs. a Mediator »
As in a court case, the process of mediation provides a method of conflict resolution. However, it is much more informal and does …
As in a court case, the process of mediation provides a method of conflict resolution. However, it is much more informal and does …
A personal injury lawyer can help defendants in a variety of situations, from car accidents to defamation. Learn what personal inj…
Divorce lawyers help couples agree to the terms of their separation, but can also be very expensive. Learn how to choose the right…
After my husband was found guilty I immediately started looking for an Appellate Attorney. I interviewed several great Appellate Attorneys in the state when another lawyer recommended Mr. Thomas Donnelly. I met with Mr. Donnelly right away and was very pleased. Mr. Donnelly was straight forward and honest and I found him very refreshing. I could tell that Mr. Donnelly loved his work and he liked challenges. I did not know at the time all the challenges that he would have to face when it came to my husband’s case. Mr. Donnelly proved to be true fighter; winning, not once, but twice at the Court of Appeals in Maryland for my husband. Mr. Donnelly uncovered issues that had never been explored and exposed other issues with great support and case law. Mr. Donnelly has always displayed the highest level of integrity, honesty, and work ethic. Mr. Donnelly works hard and fights hard for his clients. Mr. Donnelly has always been there to answer our questions and address any concerns we may have. Mr. Donnelly has never wasted our time and money and I knew regardless of the outcome he would work harder for us than anyone. Thanks to Mr. Donnelly’s hard work and diligence my husband will be home this coming year! I cannot begin to express the gratitude or respect I have for Mr. Donnelly and I would urge anyone to consider hiring Mr. Donnelly to represent them.
Mr. Berlage helped me out of a bad situation. I moved and the movers scratched a valuable piece of furniture- my dining room table that was an antique. I contacted the movers who told me they were licensed and insured- I found them through Craigslist. Bad move. The owner proceeded to tell me he had gone out of business ( in one week?) and was filing bankruptcy. I had a friend call to inquire about moving services though the next day and suddenly he was back in business. I called two attorneys who explained to me that it would cost more (about 700-1,000 dollars in legal fees) to recover damages than it would to fix the table (the repair was about 600 dollars to refinish the top). Berlage was the third attorney I called and he had sympathy for my situation. He promised to help me out for a very small flat fee because he felt strongly that I had been ripped off. Well, he had my moving expenses reimbursed from the company within a week and I had the table fixed. He cut his fee to help me out and he was happy with the outcome as I was.
After the mother of my child kidnapped my son and left the State, I was absolutely devastated. I thought I would never see my son again. A close and trusted friend recommended Mr. Donnelly to me so I felt comfortable contacting him. Immediately, I was greeted with a warm voice and transferred directly over to Mr. Donnelly himself. He sat and talked with me over the phone for a while and I could tell he truly cares about each and every one of his clients. Throughout the entire Custody proceedings he frequently called and updated me on my case. He gave me advice and steered me in the right direction whenever I was in need. Being a Father in Maryland I never thought in a million years I would get custody of my son over his mother. Tom fought for me to the end which ultimately resulted in me getting full legal and physical custody of my now 3 year old son. I could never be any happier. I am truly grateful I had such a devoted and tough attorney on my side. Thank you Tom!
I spent the last twenty years thinking I was doing pretty well for myself. Almost all of my friends had debt but no one talked about it. I knew that everyone else had a mortgage and student loans to pay. When I finally asked my friend how to get the creditors off his back, he had no idea what I was talking about. It turns out, I wasn’t as financially sound as I thought. My friends weren’t getting the same calls from creditors as I was. I panicked and called Richard J. Hackerman. After my free consultation, he explained that Chapter 13 would allow me to get my life back up and running and get the creditors to stop calling me. I owe him so much more than the invoice states. He gave me the knowledge I needed to get back on track.
Ok, I love lawyer jokes and was wary because I never needed one before. We were referred to Richard by a friend. She said he was smart, tough and honest (yes I was skeptical to). Our case had been rejected by 2 other lawyers because it was tough and we couldn't come up with $5,000 up front. Mr. Stofberg said he would work out a payment plan because he felt like my sisters and I had a good case and deserved representation. He was great (always in touch...just don't call him before noon...lol...he's a night owl). Our case was done so professionally and the outcome was better than what the other lawyers said was possible. He obviously cares about the clients more than $. We were so happy I had to write.
Thinking about the need to file for bankruptcy is never easy. There is so much anxiety to bear with, especially if you do not have anyone from the law firm representing you. Fortunately, throughout this difficult time, I was able to find Richard Hackerman who is very compassionate and knowledgeable. He understood my needs and always kept me in the loop with the whole process. He was really professional and would always notify me of all critical events. He was involved in every decision that I made and would discuss the options that I can go for thoroughly. I couldn’t begin to express how comforting it is to know that an experienced attorney was working on my case. I couldn’t have done it without him!
Unfortunately I have been through the procedure of bankruptcy before with another firm, and it was just awful. On the other hand, my experience with Richard Hackerman was top notch. He offered me a thorough consultation, and he was a pleasure to work with. He very much eased my mind and helped me think rationally and clearly on every decision I had to make. This made me act effectively towards the best possible outcome. Whenever I needed him, he would always become available and his services are reasonably priced. What I appreciated most is that I felt like he was doing this because he cares and not just for the paycheck. Do not hesitate to call him if you are having similar problems.
I have always struggled with my finances. I never learned how to properly set up a smart financial plan, and it constantly landed me in a bad place. I have always relied on the help of others to dig me out until one day, the hole I had dug was too deep. I realized that I needed some professional help but refused to consider bankruptcy. I went to Richard Hackerman and after our initial consultation I realized that I could get out of my financial trouble without declaring bankruptcy. He helped me to set up goals for myself and take financial responsibility for my life. Consulting Richard Hackerman was the best financial decision I have ever made for myself and my family.
I just wanted to take the time to thank Atty. Hackerman for his help during our bankruptcy process. We appreciate his patience and kindness during this difficult time and we are hoping we will have closure on all fronts really soon. Since we were so busy trying to deal with other things, it was tough trying to meet him each time until the actual court date. But he was amazing with us and would take our long phone calls and emails. We are grateful that he would respond as soon as he could and give us full details on the process. I was very nervous during the hearing, but he really made an effort to assure us great results. And he certainly delivered. Great work!
Right after I graduated college, I got an amazing job at a law firm in downtown Baltimore that dealt with tax law. There is nothing better than being able to pay off student loans and have some extra money to play with. I wasn’t smart about it and was spending my money way too quickly. My paycheck went to my head and I quickly got into trouble. I purchased an apartment I couldn’t afford along with my student loans, and I was in over my head. I contacted Richard J. Hackerman and as a fellow lawyer he worked with the utmost discretion. I was able to quickly turn my finances around and get my life in check. I owe a good part of my life to his advice!
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.