If the thought of choosing the right lawyer for your wrongful termination suit makes you stressed and anxious, you’re not alone. Many individuals have experienced the pressures involved in selecting a competent attorney, often without much information to go on. In fact, there are a number of factors to consider before hiring an attorney, and having a solid selection criteria can take some of the anxiety and confusion out of the process.
One of the most important things to remember throughout the selection process is that asking the right questions can go a long way. A visit to each candidate’s offices with a good set of targeted questions can remove some of the burden of finding the right attorney.
You’ll want to know that your lawyer will be available to you throughout the process and how often. You’ll also need to inquire about the amount of time it will take to receive responses to phone calls and letters, the main point of contact for your case and how much experience the individual has in handling wrongful termination cases. Keep these questions in mind as you move forward in your search, and be prepared to ask them during in-person meetings.
Do Your Research
Prior to an in-person meeting, there are several ways to wade through the myriad of candidates in Los Angeles to find the right lawyer for your case. The digital age places many resources right at your fingertips that would be difficult to access otherwise. For instance, it is very easy to visit the California Bar website and check to see if an attorney is in good standing, has ever received sanctions or is under investigation for lapses in professional responsibility.
Another way to conduct solid research is to visit California court websites. Conducting a search using an attorney’s name can yield information about his or her track record with wrongful termination cases and indicate the level of experience he or she has in trying such cases.
Also, some legal directories, such as the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, can be excellent resources for getting accurate and up-to-date information about law firms and their attorneys. This directory also offers peer-review ratings which can be extremely helpful in choosing the best candidate for you.
Another wise way to select an attorney you’ll be comfortable with is to ask around and do a bit of networking. Find out about a lawyer’s reputation and the general opinion about his or her success rate. Friends and colleagues who have already gone through the lawyer selection process may be able to offer advice and tips on pitfalls to avoid and best practices. Also, other attorneys may have insight on certain lawyers that stand out in the Los Angeles wrongful termination practice area.
Conduct an Interview
One task essential for locating the best Los Angeles lawyer for your wrongful termination case is to conduct in-person interviews of each candidate. Be prepared to ask the pertinent questions noted above. It may also be a good idea to request a tour of the law firm to familiarize yourself with the names and faces of individuals that will be handling your case.
During the interview take special note of the candor and personal chemistry between yourself and the prospective attorney. You’ll want to find an attorney whose personality is a good match for your endeavor and who is willing to work with you on your case. Finding a wrongful termination lawyer that you can build a trusting relationship with and who is a ready communicator can be a crucial step forward in successfully resolving your case.
Ask About Billing
Billing is a topic that should never be avoided. The point here is to reach a mutual understanding, so that both you and your new attorney know what to expect from each other over the course of your wrongful termination case. The agreement between a lawyer and client is called a fee agreement, and legally, it must be in writing when costs total more than $1000.
A fee agreement should list the services provided and the costs of each service as well as how each cost is calculated and billed. To ensure that you thoroughly understand all the terms in the agreement, be sure to ask questions where there is confusion or bring a professional friend or relative along to help.
The fee agreement may also list the responsibilities expected of you as a client. Before signing, be sure you are capable and willing to uphold your end of the agreement. If there are pay arrangements worked into the agreement, it is also a good idea to ask whether interest will be charged and what the policy is for late or missed payments.
Reflect on Your Experience
Once all the research is complete and you’ve interviewed possible candidates for handling your wrongful termination case, take some time to reflect on your experience. If you’ve narrowed your choices down to a small group of attorneys, develop a ‘pros and cons’ list to eliminate the attorneys that have the most significant drawbacks. Consider the personal chemistry and the ease with which you were able to communicate with each candidate.
Another good idea is to compare estimates for the legal fees and costs each lawyer has given. Even in the legal world, you get what you pay for, and you’ll want to wisely consider that, though poor quality work may be less expensive, it may not get you the results you need and desire for your case. However, keep in mind also that an estimate is only a lawyer’s preliminary determination based on experience about the costs and fees involved. Your actual costs could be more or less by the time the case is resolved.
The Key to Finding a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Los Angeles
The key to finding a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles is you. This means conducting thorough research using the resources available to you and visiting with each candidate to get a good feel for your ability to work together with your attorney.
The ultimate goal is to find an attorney that matches your personality and that you are able to develop a lasting rapport with for the successful resolution of your case. Following these steps should help in finding a wrongful termination lawyer for the most positive and successful outcome possible.