GET AN EXPERT LEGAL OPINION
Expert legal services are not a dime a dozen, despite advertising you might see on television. And don’t assume you can handle the issue yourself. Legal issues are complicated— and in many cases, they should be left to the professionals.
Except for a traffic ticket or a small claims court case, hiring an attorney to represent you is usually money well spent. Once you’ve made the decision to contact a lawyer, don’t look for the biggest ad in the yellow pages or the flashiest webpage, or rely on how many times you’ve seen the lawyer’s ad on TV. Review the attorney’s credentials, experience, education, cost, accessibility, specialization and reputation. Many attorneys offer free consultations, where you can gauge their compassion, passion and trustworthiness. In addition to asking friends and family members for referrals, you can contact the state bar association with questions.
What kind of lawyer do you need?
ATTORNEYS OFTEN PRACTICE AND REPRESENT CLIENTS IN LEGAL ISSUES AND DISPUTES IN A VARIETY OF AREAS, NOT JUST ONE. THE MOST COMMON PRACTICES ARE:
BY DEAN ROWLAND
- CRIMINAL: These lawyers guide accused clients through the arrest, bail, arraignment, pleas and trial.
- PERSONAL INJURY: Injuries and accidents of any nature usually involve insurance companies and financial settlements.
- ESTATE PLANNING: These attorneys work to ensure your life’s savings and assets are safe from beneficiaries’ creditors upon your death by drafting wills and trusts and directives for health care.
- BANKRUPTCY: There are several types of bankruptcy proceedings, and criteria for eligibility to help you get out of debt if mired with financial difficulties.
- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Anything involving copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design and trade secrets fall under the purview of these lawyers.
- IMMIGRATION: This type of lawyer assists bringing individuals, family members and workers into this country via visas, citizenship, refugee status, asylum and green cards.
- EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR: Issues involving employer/employee relationships and contracts, and compliance with state and federal laws.
- CORPORATE: Anything having to do with corporation start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and tax compliance issues are covered by this type of legal specialist.
- REAL ESTATE: Issues related to commercial or residential real estate and property fall under this job description, including transactions and drafting documents.
- TAX: This lawyer helps individuals and businesses filing their tax returns to comply with state and federal laws.
- Family: Direct family issues regarding prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings, child custody and spousal support are covered by this type of lawyer.
- WORKER’S COMPENSATION: This legal expertise handles injuries on the job, workplace accidents or occupational disease to determine the extent of employer fault and rightful benefits owed.
- ENVIRONMENTAL: You need legal help if you are faced with enforcement action or need to make sure your business is complying with state and federal regulations.
- CIVIL LITIGATION: If you have been sued or are planning to sue and the issue isn’t criminal, then call this jack-of-all-trades attorney.