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HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH ATTORNEY?

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

In my last post I discussed how to begin searching for an attorney to handle your legal matter. The best way to begin is by compiling a list of qualified, experienced local attorneys for the type of legal problem you have. I suggested starting by asking family and friends for suggestions and then getting a broader listing of local attorneys though various legal directories that are available, including mailed advertisements for criminal matters. I mentioned the online directory, Avvo.com, which lists all attorneys in Florida by location and specialty. Avvo also provides information about the attorney’s experience and major areas of practice.

The Interview Process

Once you have a list of names and phone numbers of at least three local attorneys that seem to be experienced in the area of your legal problem, you are ready for the next step. You are now ready to interview attorneys for your case. Now you can simply call the attorneys and either speak to them on the telephone, or more likely, set an appointment to meet with them. Many attorneys will provide a free consultation so that you can meet and talk with them without spending any money. Don’t expect them to give you their legal advice or to teach you how to handle your own case during a free consultation however. The initial free consultation is to allow you to speak face to face with the attorney and give him or her an idea of the nature and complexity of your case. You have the chance to find out if you like dealing with that attorney in person and the attorney can get the background needed to decide how much time will likely be spent on your legal problem in order to quote you a fee.

Just A Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It is very important to find an attorney that you can communicate with and who gives you complete and understandable explanations. It is important to find an attorney whom you respect, for you are hiring an attorney not just as a companion to stand next to you in court, nor solely to do paperwork for you, but really you need an attorney for his or her expert advice on the best way to proceed with your case. Just like hiring a physician for serious surgery, you are really placing yourself in your attorney’s hands regarding your legal matter. If that legal matter happens to be a criminal charge, punishable by prison, jail, driver’s license revocations or suspensions and monetary fines, you are facing a serious situation in your life and, just like your surgeon, you must have trust in your attorney. Similarly, if you are facing a contested divorce, child custody, division of property and assets or alimony, or if you have been injured in an automobile accident or slip and fall and need prolonged medical treatment and have experienced significant pain and suffering, you will need to be able to rely upon someone with experience to guide you in reaching the best possible outcome for your case.

Are You Experienced?

The attorney’s experience, both in number of years of practice and in number of cases handled of your type will tell you a lot about that attorney’s qualifications to handle your case. More importantly, does the attorney’s experience show that he or she is seasoned at the type of case you are facing? If your type of legal problem involves criminal charges, accident injuries or contested family law matters, such as divorce, child support or custody or alimony, the amount of experience that an attorney has dealing with litigation and trials should be extremely important to you. Each of those types of cases involves litigation. Litigation is the term used for legal problems that are ultimately decided in a court of law, either by a judge or a jury. Ask how many trials, including jury trials, the attorney has done. You will want to find an attorney who can communicate to you, whom you respect and who not only knows how to find the courthouse, but feels comfortable and at home once they are there. You will want to hire the best attorney that you can afford.

Next, I will talk a little about attorney’s fees and try to demystify them, as well as give some tips on how to avoid getting quoted a very high fee.

Garry L. Potts is a former 15 year prosecutor and former insurance defense trial lawyer. Garry L. Potts handles legal matters in the following practice areas: Criminal Law, Civil Practice, Driving While Intoxicated, Breath test Refusals, Drivers License Revocations or Suspensions, Assault and Battery, Felonies, Misdemeanors, Sealing & Expungement, Traffic Violations, Theft, Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, Wrongful Death, Family Law, Child Custody & Support, Divorces, Wills, Trusts and Probate. With over 22 years of experience and more than 100 jury trials, Garry Potts is one of the most experienced attorneys in the Tampa Bay area.

The Law Office of Garry L. Potts
13575 58th Street North, Suite 126, Clearwater, Florida 33760
Telephone: 727-538-4166

Web site: www.GPottsLaw.com

Web site: Clearwater DUI Attorney

HOW DO YOU FIND AN ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CASE?

November 9, 2010 1 comment

Need An Attorney?

Searching to hire an attorney, whether it is for a business legal matter, divorce or for criminal charges, is a daunting task. I recommend that your search for the right attorney for your legal matter should begin by researching for experienced attorneys in the Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa areas who practice in the area of law that you need. One obvious way to begin your research is to ask family and friends for the names of attorneys that they may have used in the past and were happy with. The problem with only using this method of research is that the information you get is very limited. Your circle of friend and family, hopefully, probably has only a limited experience with legal problems and attorneys. So, you are likely to get the name or names of only one or two attorneys, who are often the only attorneys they know. Another way to research attorneys is to look at legal directories, such as the Florida Bar’s list of attorneys in your city, the phone book listings of attorneys or the local Bar associations, such as the Clearwater or St. Petersburg Bars. One very handy online legal directory is Avvo.com. Avvo is a listing of all attorneys in your state, organized by location, areas of practice and their own rating of the attorneys. The Avvo rating system seems to be based mainly upon years of experience and involvement in the legal community. While that information is useful, the rating system alone should not be relied upon in choosing a lawyer for your problem.

Who The H*## Sent All of These Brochures?

Another useful way to collect attorney names in your local area may at first seem like an imposition. That would be the attorney direct mail advertisements which attorneys are sometimes permitted to send out, usually in criminal cases. In Florida, the Florida Bar rules allow attorneys to send advertisements by mail to people who may require legal counsel. There are several rules which limit these direct mail advertisements. The outside and inside page of the mailing must be marked “Advertisement” in red letters and the outside of the mailing cannot state what the legal problem is. Also, while attorneys may mail advertisements to people who are facing criminal charges immediately, they must wait for thirty days following an injury or accident in a personal injury or wrongful death case. If you are ever unfortunate enough to be arrested for a crime in the Tampa Bay area, you will likely receive two dozen or more mailings from attorneys within a couple of days of your arrest. Some are colorful brochures, obviously from a criminal defense law firm, while other will be more professional and subtle letters in an envelope. The Florida Bar allows attorneys to send these ads out by mail because they recognize that people who have been arrested, or had a major accident with injuries, will be in need of legal representation, but may have no idea where or how to look for an attorney. While receiving so many mailed advertisements is often annoying to the recipient, they do provide you with a list of local attorneys who are willing to take on your type of case. Within the advertisement you will usually find information about the law firm and its lawyers, such as prior experience, address and phone number. The law firms and attorneys that you like from the mailings should be checked against the Avvo.com site discussed above for experience and major practice areas.

Making A List And Checking It Twice

With the list of attorneys that you have found you are ready for the next step. I recommend choosing no less than three and up to six or more names from your research. You are not actually making your decision as to which attorney to hire yet. What is important is to find a listing of attorneys in your city or county and get the names and phone numbers of those who practice the type of law that you need and have the most experience.

Later we’ll look at specific things to look for in an attorney and how to proceed to find the best attorney for you.

Garry L. Potts is a former 15 year prosecutor and former insurance defense trial lawyer. Garry L. Potts handles legal matters in the following practice areas: Criminal Law, Civil Practice, Driving While Intoxicated, Breath test Refusals, Drivers License Revocations or Suspensions, Assault and Battery, Felonies, Misdemeanors, Sealing & Expungement, Traffic Violations, Theft, Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, Wrongful Death, Family Law, Child Custody & Support, Divorces, Wills, Trusts and Probate. With over 22 years of experience and more than 100 jury trials, Garry Potts is one of the most experienced attorneys in the Tampa Bay area.

The Law Office of Garry L. Potts
13575 58th Street North, Suite 126, Clearwater, Florida 33760
Telephone: 727-538-4166

Web site: www.GPottsLaw.com

Web site: Clearwater DUI Attorney