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"Solving Client Needs"

When should you consult legal counsel?

Many people make the common mistake of only consulting counsel after they are confronted with a legal crisis such as arrest and indictment, dissolution, defendant in lawsuit, etc. However, it is better to consult legal counsel to avoid potential pitfalls. Some of the common reasons to consult legal counsel are:


The process of finding a good lawyer is similar to locating a accountant, physician or other professional consultant. It is best to proceed carefully and make sure that the attorney is a good fit, otherwise you lose valuable time and could possibly jeopardize your legal position.

Where do you find legal representation?

Some of the many ways you go about seeking legal representation without reference to priority are:

Contacting your local and state bar associations.

Checking with your local law school.

Talking with other professional advisors such as accountant, insurance agent, banker, minister.

Talking with your friends or business associates.

Checking the lawyers referral service of the State Bar.

Checking the West's Legal Directory, Martindale-Hubbell, or other publication.

Checking local publications for articles of interest written by local lawyers.

Factors to consider once you locate a lawyer

Make sure the attorney is knowledgeable about your business, has time to work with you, and lastly that the lawyer is a good fit, feels right, or has the style and personality compatible with yours.

Also it is important that the attorney have no conflicts that will prevent the attorney from representing you zealously. A example of a conflict may be someone that has been involved in a lawsuit with you, a business competitor or associate, that the attorney is representing. Should a conflict arise during the attorney's representation of you, they may be legally required to withdraw despite your matter being unresolved.

Understand the fee structure

There are several different ways that a attorney may charge for services. Negotiate with the attorney if necessary to select the best arrangement or combination for you. Some of the different methods are:

1. Hourly rate - usually $300.00 per hour for most attorneys.

2. Fixed rate - for example the representation in the drafting of a basic will and pour over trust may be $500.00.

3. Contingent fees - the contingent fee is where the attorney takes a percentage, usually 33.3% - 40% of any recovery.

4. Retainer - the attorney is under a advance fee to handle your case, or be on call.

Good Communication is Necessary to the Professional Relationship

Before your attorney can represent you adequately, it is imperative that you have good communication. Any good attorney will candidly advise you even if the information is unfavorable, of the ramifications and potential outcome during all phases of the professional relationship. A good attorney should provide you with copies of all important documents in advance so that you may review them during the representation, and also provide you with final copies and correspondence once your matter is resolved. Keep the communication open, they are there to serve you!

Copyright 1997 - 2009 - Gregory L. Martin, Esq. - All Rights Reserved.

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