A client’s guide
Legal representation can be confusing and daunting. Feel free to ask us any of your questions. The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers though you should keep in mind that every case involves its own set of unique attributes and quirks and you should not take these answers to be absolute or necessarily applicable to your situation.
How do you pick or find a good attorney?
You should be guided by how the prospects represent themselves verbally, in writing, on their website or otherwise. A “good” attorney for one type of matter may not be a good attorney for another. For example, if a law firm/attorney only handles divorces, this is probably not a good choice to handle your construction matter.
How long does each case last?
Unfortunately this depends greatly on factors out of the control of your attorney including rulings by the court and actions taken by the opposing party. Cases can sometimes be settled before they are even filed. Many times, simply having an attorney draft a “demand letter” makes the other party realize you mean business and can convince them to compensate you and avoid litigation. Other times a case will need to be filed and may settle prior to trial. Courts set a timeline for each cases and generally from the time a case is filed to the time trial is heard is about 12-20 months. If an appeal is necessary after a trial, this will likely take an additional 24 months because of the litigation backlog at the Court of Appeals.
When is it worth it to hire an attorney? Maybe I should just represent myself?
There is an old adage that “he who represents himself as an attorney has a fool for a client.” It is unfortunate, but there are still a number of judges who disdain those parties who do not have an attorney representing them in court and this could affect your case negatively. There are major pitfalls to representing yourself and you may undermine or even completely destroy your claims or defenses unwittingly. Corporations, by law, must be represented by an attorney in court. For some lesser dollar claims, though, hiring an attorney is not worthwhile. For claims under $3,000, small claims court is often advisable (and in fact attorneys are not allowed to represent clients in small claims court). We can counsel you and give you our input on the likely sucesses of your claim or defenses and help you determine whether or not it is worth pursuing, or the reasonable settlement value of a case, or whether even hiring an attorney is advisable. We offer a free half hour consulting period.
What is the role of a litigation attorney?
The role of a litigation attorney is to be your representative and advocate in court, and to provide you advise on your case. Your attorney will need you to provide facts and sometimes documentation and will seek comment from you on your observations and thoughts. It is the attorney’s job to develop the arguments from those facts and the legal and practical strategy most likely to bring success. We endeavor to explain the legal ramifications of our arguments since we want our clients to be informed and understand the legal process and our work.