Why do I need to retain a lawyer?
You may have a legal problem and not know how to resolve it. Lawyers have been specially trained in the law and experienced in our court system. And the right lawyer can advise and assist you with your particular problem. If you are facing a lawsuit, for example, a lawyer can help you understand your rights, and the strengths and weaknesses of your case. A lawyer knows the rules and procedures for arguing the case in court. And a lawyer can make a big difference in whether or not your side of the story is successfully presented to a judge or jury. A lawyer can help you get a divorce, draw up a will, or prepare a contract. Or, if you have been mistreated, a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit. Some lawyers handle a variety of legal problems; others specialize in certain areas of the law. Failing to call a lawyer quickly can make a situation worse. Someone should assess liability, interview the witnesses, and gather evidence as soon as possible. Preventive legal advice could save you time, trouble and money by doing things right before legal problems arise. Take, for example, the purchase of your real estate and automobiles. You might have a problem in the future if you sign the purchase agreement without completely understanding it. Or, maybe you are launching a business with a partner. A lawyer could point out the advantages and drawbacks of various partnership arrangements. These are just a few of the many situations in which lawyers can provide advice and assistance.
How closely will I be involved in my lawyers work?
It will depend on your particular arrangement. You may be able to help by gathering papers and other evidence and by lining up witnesses. In any case, you should tell the lawyer everything you can about your problem and report any new developments immediately. To do a good job, the lawyer must know everything you know – including information that could be damaging to your case or that may seem unimportant to you. Ask the lawyer to explain the various steps involved in handling your problem. You also could request copies of all letters and documents prepared for your case. And you may want to know how often the lawyer will update you. Depending on your situation, the lawyer may be able to provide a timetable that lays out the steps in the case. However, this may not always be possible. If you are involved in a lawsuit, for example, the court’s schedule and backlog will influence how long your case will take. If you have any questions as your case moves along, call the lawyer. However, keep in mind that, depending on the fee arrangement, you could be charged for the lawyer’s time during the phone call.
Can a lawyer handle just certain parts of my case?
Yes, in some cases. limited scope representation – hiring an attorney to assist you on particular aspects of your case – may be appropriate for you. Whether it is a good option in your case could depend on the complexity of your legal matter and your financial situation. Generally, limited representation involves less cost.
While some attorneys will not work solely on portions of a case, others will agree to provide limited representation. These attorneys may be referred to as consulting attorneys, coaches or providers of unbundled legal services. Such attorneys do not take on the full responsibility for overseeing or handling your case. The limits of the representation are set by agreement. If you choose such representation, make sure you understand the extent of the attorney’s services. Such services might include, for example, assistance with a negotiation strategy, representation at a particular court hearing or the attorney’s “sign-off” on any legal agreement.
Should I sue?
Just because you want to sue someone does not mean you should. Several requirements must be met for you to be able to sue.
- Am I suing in the right court?
- Has my time limit for suing expired?
- Do I have a reasonable chance of winning my case?
An experienced litigation attorney can help you answer these questions.
Who do I sue?
Figuring out which person to sue can be complicated. Depending on the circumstances, it might not be obvious. Are you suing an individual, multiple individuals, or an organization? Are you suing a d/b/a or a corporation? You must figure out who are the responsible parties that you need to sue. What is the full legal name and address of the person, organization, or representative?
An experienced litigation attorney has access to resources to answer these questions.
What happens if I don't respond to a summons?
If you don’t hire an attorney file a written response to the court, the Plaintiff can win by default judgment even before a scheduled court date.
If this happens, the Plaintiff can garnish your wages or get a lien on your property. A default judgment may also show up on your credit report.
How much time do I have to respond to a summons?
For most cases, you only have 30 days to hire an attorney to file a written response to the court. In certain special cases, such as eviction or domestic violence, or it could be only 5 days to file a response.
Do I have to respond to a summons?
You don’t have to respond. There may even be some situations where it’s better not to respond. Maybe the case can be settled without a response. But you should not make this decision without first speaking with an experienced attorney.
How do I respond to a summons?
You have several options for responding to the lawsuit, and each depends on the circumstances of your case. An attorney is experienced at doing everything correctly so you don’t lose your chance to defend yourself.
What are the typical steps in a litigation case?
Every case begins with the filing and service of a Complaint. The Complaint will contain one or more
“causes of action” such as Breach of Contract, Breach of Warranty, Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty,
Negligence, Malpractice, Conversion, Common Counts, or Statutory Violations.
Service Of Complaint
After the Summons and Complaint have been filed with the court, they must be properly served on the
defendant(s), typically by a registered process server.
Response To Complaint
The Defendant(s) have 30 days from the date of service of the Complaint to file either a General
Answer to the Complaint or a Motion (Demurrer or Motion to Strike) challenging the Complaint.
Once the Complaint and Answer have been filed both parties start a process of “discovery” of the
evidence of both sides. Depending on the nature and complexity of the case, discovery methods might
include, interrogatories, requests for documents and subpoenas, or depositions.
Throughout the case the court will set a series of Case Management, Status, Trial Setting, or Final
Conferences to be attended by attorneys for all parties. These hearings are designed to determine
whether the case is ready for trial.
Settlement negotiations may take place prior to the filing the Complaint up until trial. Often
the court will request the parties schedule a Mediation or “Mandatory Settlement Conference” before
the trial date. If the case does not settle, and the parties have filed all required documents, the
court will set the date for trial.
If the case goes to trial, the parties attorneys will prepare a trial brief, list of
witnesses and exhibits, and prepare witnesses to testify at trial.
In the event that you win at trial, or by default, or by motion, or by settlement, if the other
party fails to pay as ordered by the court, our office will take action to collect the award amount.