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 …
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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…
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!
Casey is a great attorney, and even broke down the legal jargan and explained to me what everything meant in regards to my misdemeanor charge. It was very comforting since I'd never been in trouble before. Well, it was until the one time my father, also an attorney, but of a different sort, was not able to go to my court date with me. Mr. Keirnan didn't even bother to tell me that he wasn't going to show up at the beginning like I had to, even though he had always been there from the start of court before. I sat in the court room for 2 HOURS wondering where my attorney was, and why I couldn't get an answer from him or his office as to what was going on. Finally, my father, who was on vacation, decided to call Casey, and immediately got the answer. He had other court appearances to make as well, and attended those first apparently since my dad wasn't around. By the time Casey made it to the court room, 2.5 hours after the session began, the judge had gone home sick for the day. Since my court date kept getting reset, I had to go a couple more times before it was settled. In that time, I tried to call Mr. Keirnan in regards to my case with a question, but he could never be bothered to return MY calls, only my father's. I guess even though I was his client, he was simply too good to talk to ME. He chose to go through my father, and only took time to make sure I understood what was happening when my father was around. It was all for show. Yes, he did his job, and I have no complaints as to the results. I just don't like the fact that I paid that much money to a man who couldn't even call me back about my case. Now that I am getting my record sealed, I am going through the same BS with a lady in his office who handles Non-Disclosures and Expunctures all the time. I am downright pissed off at this point, and regret ever going to this practice to begin with. Thanks to this lady, my entire life is on hold still because she has yet to file the papers, THREE WEEKS after cashing the check for PAYMENT IN FULL. She knows this also, so I she either does not care, or is incapable of finding out when the right time of day is to file the papers. Not very reassuring for someone who does this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. Technically, I could have had my record sealed two weeks ago, but she can't even call me back at the times SHE says she will call me. I have to hunt her down basically. I could have handled this matter MYSELF and had it all done and over with long ago, in less than the amount of time she requires to manage to get herself to the court when the right person is there. IF YOU HAVE THE NEED FOR A DEFENSE ATTORNEY, YOU'VE ALREADY GOT ENOUGH STRESS TO DEAL WITH. DON'T ADD TO IT BY HIRING ANYONE IN THIS OFFICE, OR THIS ATTORNEY EITHER. They obviously care only about the money the make from their job, not the people they represent!
I recently was involved in a car accident with my child in the car. I was extremely nervous when it happened. My husband was out of town and I didn't know what to do. I know this sounds like a commercial, but it's just like you see on the television. I felt like such a victim. First, the guy in the big truck that hit me started denying it was his fault. I was so furious!! Whenever I thought of car accidents and lawyers, I always thought it was a form of exploitation and just lies. But let me tell you how wrong I was. At the scene of the accidnent, I was in SO much pain and at that same time, NO pain. I knew I was hurt, but I was so worried about my 9 year old, that I couldn't think of any of my own pain. She was crying so much and she kept saying, mommy, are we dying, mommy are we dying? She was also in so much pain and also kept saying, mommy it hurts, mommy it hurts. Then on top of that, the trucker man wanted to lie in my face! We went to the hospital, and got checked out. We were there for about 4 hours. They checked both me and my daughter out extensively. I had some major pain and a pounding headache. My daughter was cut on her arm because of the glass. They gave us all these pain medications. I called the insurance company (of the trucker) and they said there are conflicting statements. I wanted to scream!!!!! I then did something that I thought I never would do. I looked online for an personal injury attorney. I found Ramji & Associates. This was the best thing that I did. Attorney Ramji was so helpful. I made an appointment and my husband (who was back by then) and I met with the attorney. Because of his is also a doctor, he walked us through this like butter. He made the trucker accept liability and he settled our case for a huge amount. I never thought I would get that kind of money from an accident. I didn't even want any money. I just wanted to get the money for my Lexus (which was totaled!) and get all the medical bills paid. My insurance paid most of it, but not all of it. But my insurance ended up getting all their money back. If you ever feel like calling an attorney is the wrong thing, then you are doing the wrong thing by not calling. I highly highly recommend him! Diane Stein
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!
Jack asked me to write this review and I am more than happy to do it. My brother Ricky was charged with murder of a police officer for the unfortunate death of a sheriffs deputy. My family and I pulled together and hired jack on the case, but because of the severity of the case we thought he would spend the rest of his years in prison. Needless to say Jack won the trial and my brother is at home to this day with his wife and children and not in prison like many other innocent individuals. Years later i myself made a terrible mistake, I was apprehended with several ounces of cocaine and a firearm by the police. I was offered 20 years, at my time of crisis i called jack and hired him for this case as well. I had a suppression hearing where I received differed adjudication, my case has since been dismissed soon there will be no public record of it. My partner that I was arrested with chose to hire a different attorney and received 20 years for the same crime. I saw a bad review on AVVO about Jack and it really pissed me off. I have been knowing Jack for at least 10 years and I have never met anyone that can say anything bad about him in his practice. Feel free to contact me if you have any question about Jack, I will be honest and try to help you or your family because I know what it feels like, when a family member or myself if faced with these serious allegations and the wrong decision could mean years of imprisonment.
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.
I was fortunate enough to find Mr. Hernandez in time to represent me. He took the time to meet me on a Saturday, yes folks a Saturday, to discuss my case with me. He told me exactly what I was looking at; best case scenario - worst case scenario. He told me what to expect, but also told me what his strategy would be. He met me promptly at the court house, no sitting around waiting for hours for him to show up. He was VERY professional, articulate, and knowledgeable. I was looking at a serious charge that would probably have resulted in time in jail had I not hired Mr. Hernandez. I walked out of court that day! And I can honestly say that I owe it all to Mr. Hernandez. He is a very down to earth kind of guy, but he knows what he is doing. He treated me with respect and dignity; if I am ever (hopefully not though) in the position where I would need a good lawyer, Mr. Hernandez will be that lawyer. He was the right man for me and I highly recommend him to anyone in need of a good lawyer. I will also recommend him to anyone I know that may have to defend themselves in court. I truly can’t say enough to state how completely satisfied I am with the decision to hire him. Good luck to anyone seeking a lawyer, and at least call Mr. Hernandez. He may be able to do for you what he did for me.
I was referred to Attorney Melonie D. Jones in 2004. Melonie represented me in Family Court to receive full custody of my young daughter. Her mother had became fatally ill and past in 2003. I worked together with her mother’s parents or grandparents to care for my daughter. The grandmother was already very ill with lung and heart disease and ultimately became unable to care for my daughter and her mobility became severely inhibited. The grandfather rejected the idea of me having primary custody my daughter. This is when I was referred to Attorney Melonie D. Jones. Thanks, to Attorney Melonie D. Jones expertise, I received full custody of my daughter, who is now a healthy 12 year old; filled with many dreams and ambitions. She is now experiencing a good school and a great neighborhood; she is in school activities and a cheerleader for the little League Football team that I coach. Thanks to Atty. Melonie D. Jones, I am a very happy Father and I have a Very Happy Daughter!! Thank You and May God Shine His Face Upon You and Your Practice!!! Numbers 6: 24-26 24“‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ Warmest Regards, Marcus P.
I just want to thank the staff and attorneys at the Law Firm of Terry & Thweatt, P.C. My wife and I were involved in a personal injury case that required the assistance of legal professional s. We retained the services of Terry & Thweatt via a professional reference. We were very pleased with the professionalism and expertise demonstrated by this law firm. We were represented by Counsel Joseph Terry. The legal assistance provided by Mr. Terry was instrumental in obtaining results that far exceeded our expectations. The demeanor and attitude of Mr. Terry and his staff demonstrates that this law firm does what many other law firms repeatedly fail to do: Put the client’s interest first! Granted; our case did require a little patience. But what matters in the end are the results. Overall, the experience that we had with this law firm was a positive and pleasant one. It’s difficult to find attorney’s that are honest, straightforward and most importantly; client service driven. The law firm of Terry & Thweat clearly reflects a client service driven culture. Therefore, I highly recommend this law firm for such legal matters. Thank you again and keep up the great work! RS, Houston TX
CLIENT OF ATTORNEY MELONIE JONES A TESTOMY TO A JOB WILL DONE BY ATTORNEY MELONIE JONES. I WANT TO LET EVERYONE KNOW WHAT AN OUTSTANDING JOB SHE DID IN HELPING ME IN A CRUICAL TIME IN 2005 WHEN I WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT. I HAD INFORMATION FROM THE OTHER PARTY AND MYSELF BUT I WAS NOT GETTING ANY WHERE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ON EITHER SIDE. I WAS REFERRED TO MELONIE JONES, THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION I COULD HAVE EVER MADE. I WAS VERY UPSET WHEN I WENT TO HER OFFICE, SHE LISTEN TO ME AND IN A CALMING VOICE TOLD ME SHE WOULD HELP ME. WHEN I LEFT HER OFFICE I CALLED MY MOTHER TO LET HER KNOW, HOW RELIEVED I FELT AFTER MEETING WITH MELONIE AND HOW COMFORTABLE SHE MADE ME FEEL. I WAS ABLE TO GET RESTITUTION FOR MY CAR. I ALSO HAD TO RENDER ATTORNEY MELONIE JONES SERVICES IN 2006 IN WHICH I RECIEVED RESTITITUTION FROM BEING HIT FROM BEHIDE. I HAVE REFERRED ALL MY FRIENDS, CO- WORKERS AND ANYONE I KNOW TO ATTORNEY MELONIE D. JONES. SHE HAS HELPED ME AND MY TWO BOYS TO HAVE TRANSPORTATION. MELONIE YOU ARE THE BEST!!! GOD BLESS YOU AND MAY HE GIVE YOU FAVOR AND INCREASE… THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING TONI
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.