Defense lawyers Howard Bailey and Michael Orozco find that many clients have similar concerns. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about hiring a lawyer. If you would like to speak with a member of the firm please, contact our office to arrange a free consultation.
Why do I need an attorney?
As with all things in life, there are benefits and costs associated with hiring an attorney. Only you can make the decision that the benefits to you are greater than the cost of hiring an attorney. Among the factors you should consider in deciding whether to hire an attorney to represent you are the results you would like to end up with, whether you are familiar with the constitutional, statutory, and case law provisions that control your matter, whether you are familiar with the rules governing evidence and court procedure. Each of these issues often requires a combination of specialized knowledge and experience to achieve the best result possible.
Does hiring an attorney guarantee me the result I want?
No. A lawyer can provide you with conscientious, competent, and diligent services and at all times seek to achieve solutions that are just and reasonable for you. However, because of the uncertainty of legal proceedings, the interpretation and changes in the law, and many other factors, no lawyer can or should warrant, predict, or guarantee results or the final outcome of your case or any portion of your case.
Is there a benefit to me in hiring an attorney who only practices in the field of law affecting my case?
Many personal injury attorneys practice in several areas of the law and do a creditable job representing the diverse interests of their clients, while other attorneys specialize by practicing in only one area of the law because of their interest in that type of law. In addition, the value you place on any preexisting attorney-client relationship is also an important factor for you to consider while making this decision. If the attorney offers a free initial consultation, use the meeting to evaluate the attorney's ability to protect your rights.
What should I bring to my free consultation?
- All personal information about yourself (or about the person who the representation will be for)
- The documentation you have received in this matter to include: warrants, complaints, summonses, reports, and statements
- Documentation of any medical diagnosis or treatment you were under at the time of the incident—this includes the name, address, and telephone number of any treating doctor; and, a list of all medications prescribed for the treatment.
- Documentation of any mental health diagnosis or treatment you were under at the time of the incident—this includes the name, address and telephone number of any treating doctor; and, a list of all medications prescribed for the treatment
- The names, address, telephone number and age of all witnesses you are aware of
Do I need to bring money with me to the free consultation?
No. But you should understand that early in the timeline, a personal injury attorney must complete a written retainer agreement spelling out what the representation will cost. Most retainer agreements require at least a partial payment of the fee before they are signed by the attorney. Generally, this means that the attorney will not be able to enter an appearance on behalf of the client until the retainer agreement has been completed. When you set up your free initial consultation, ask the attorney what the general terms of his fees are (for example: hourly, flat, or initial fee with an escrow deposit). You can also ask what the range of fees might be if the matter were to either plea or go to trial.
Should I talk to my family and friends about what happened?
NO! Generally, with very limited exceptions, anything you say to someone else is not protected or privileged. Your rights are best protected by not talking about what happened with anyone other than your attorney, with whom you will have an attorney-client privilege. Likewise you are best protected by not signing anything about what happened until you have had the chance to talk to your attorney.
Do I really need to decide whether to hire an attorney right now?
When it comes to the law, time is not something of which you have an unlimited supply. There are critical deadlines imposed by the Court Rules that impact a variety of issues, including the availability of certain defenses and the filing of certain motions and other procedural papers. It is best to take early action to see that your rights are protected and that you have the strongest case possible.