Finding a lawyer is one of those skills we never thought we would need but now wish it was taught to us in school. Like with anything this serious, you want to make sure you are making the right decision. It’s likely there are many lawyers near you and it can be a challenge knowing what to do or who to choose if you have never gone through the legal process before.
As a Maryland law firm dedicated to our clients’ needs, we understand that having your questions answered is an important aspect in having the best experience. To help aid you in your legal journey, we have answered some of the most common questions posed by everyday people looking for a lawyer.
Does one need a lawyer?
No, you do not technically need a lawyer to go to court or to handle your legal needs. Although, it is highly recommended and often more successful if you hire a lawyer before going to court. Most people are not familiar with the litigation process, what court to file in, how to satisfy the burden of proof, what evidence to bring to court, how to negotiate with insurance companies, when to settle, how much to settle for and other detrimental aspects of the legal process. Having a lawyer allows you to navigate all of these uncertain waters and get the most out of your case.
In fact, the sooner you involve a lawyer in the process, the more likely you will have a better experience as they can walk you through what you need.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?
The terms lawyer and attorney are often used interchangeably and while similar, they are not the same. Both are individuals who have successfully studied law. Where the difference lies is in the practice of law. An attorney has been trained and is actively practicing in a court of law. A lawyer may not be active in the courtroom but can still consult and offer legal help.
It’s helpful to remember that an attorney is a lawyer, but not all lawyers are attorneys.
When searching for a lawyer/attorney you can use either term confidently and find an attorney in your area. You will know upon speaking with one if they can help you with your situation.
How much is a lawyer?
The cost of a lawyer largely depends on the individual law firm you work with. Hourly rates can range from $150 to $500 an hour or if working with a contingency lawyer, your fee will be a small percentage of the settlement winnings.
Flat fee rate services such as will writing or contact drafting are sometimes more affordable and the cost is set so you will not have to worry about rising costs.
Do I need to pay a lawyer upfront?
Some lawyers require upfront fees while others don’t charge unless and not until you win your case. How lawyer fees are structured greatly depends on the lawyer and your agreement with them.
The most common agreement that requires payment upfront is when an attorney is on retainer or charges a flat rate fee.
Other agreements may require you to pay on a monthly basis, or once the case is over. If the payment method is a concern for you, then find a lawyer that works on a contingency fee basis. This way, you don’t pay until you win your case.
Regardless of your needs, it’s important to discuss payment requirements with your attorney before they begin work on your case.
When should you hire a lawyer?
The best time to hire a lawyer is right away. As soon as you are in a situation where you believe you will require legal aid you should contact a lawyer. They can advise and assist you.
Time is of the essence, especially in personal injury cases. The sooner you hire a lawyer the sooner they can get to work.
When a lawyer is hired right away, then can help you protect and gather the right evidence for your case. It also provides them with adequate time to prepare for your case. Going to court without adequate preparation time is like taking a test without being given a chance to study the subject.
Don’t wait even if you are unsure. A lawyer will even be able to advise you on whether or not it’s the right time to hire them and what preliminary steps you need to take.
What is a personal injury lawyer?
Attorneys can practice various kinds of law but many choose to specialize in certain areas. A personal injury lawyer is one who specializes in lawsuits related to injuries. They cover car accidents, slip and falls, premise liabilities, medical injuries and other injury-related cases.
A personal injury lawyer can do more than offer aid in personal injury cases. Experienced attorneys often work on a number of different cases outside of personal injury and can partner with other experts to assist their clients in other practice areas.
What is the best way to find a lawyer?
It’s easy to find lawyers, but knowing who to contact and who to trust for your legal advice can be a challenge. The best place to start is with local law firms that have a solid reputation. From there, look to find lawyers who specialize or are experienced with your particular needs. Lastly, find someone who you are comfortable working with.
Think about an attorney as your law partner. Not only should they be knowledgeable and experienced, but it should be someone you are comfortable speaking to and working with.
Have more questions or need an attorney?
You will be encouraged to know that you don’t have to have it all figured out before finding an attorney who can help. In fact, in most cases, time is of the essence so it’s best to find a local lawyer you can trust right away.
A good attorney will be able to answer any of the questions you have while guiding you through the process.
With over 30 years of experience, the Law Offices of David N. Mabrey has received a number of unique questions and cases. There is no shame in asking questions to ensure you get the best outcome. As attorneys, it’s our job to advise you and guide you to the best possible outcome.
If you are in Maryland and need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.