How to Choose an Employment Law Attorney
Experience: When it comes to choosing an attorney, there is no substitute for experience. Many attorneys have a general practice which includes handling of different types of legal matters. Look for an attorney whose practice is limited or focused to the area of law that your situation involves.
Results: While no attorney can guarantee the outcome in a particular case, and while prior results obtained by an attorney cannot guarantee the same result in your case, a track record of proven results is a good indication that the attorney has a history of success. Results can be reflected in jury verdicts obtained at trial as well as settlements obtained through negotiation either before or after trial. Look for an attorney with a proven track record of results in obtaining verdicts or settlements.
Reputation: An attorney’s reputation is valuable and is a reflection of how they are viewed by other attorneys, judges and clients. An attorney’s reputation for achieving result or reputation for focusing in a particular area of law is often known by others in the legal community including attorneys that will be on the other side and judges that the attorney may be appearing in front of in your case.
Media Interest and Exposure: Look to see whether the cases handled by the attorney have been followed by the news media or have appeared in publications. Articles appearing in newspapers and magazines not only bring about publicity, which can often be beneficial to your case, but indicates that media organizations believe that the cases handled by the attorney are newsworthy and significant.
Will You Be Kept Informed? Keeping a client informed is one of a lawyer’s legal and ethical obligations. However, all too often, you hear about stories in which clients do not know what is going on in their case because they are not kept informed by their attorney. As the client, you have a right to know about all developments in your case, as they occur, all deadlines, and all communications that your attorney has with the other side or the court regarding your case. Look for an attorney who respects your right as a client and will keep you informed.
Reported Decisions: In the legal field, certain cases result in written legal decisions which are then published for the legal community and serve as legal precedent. Depending upon the court which issues the decision, the case can be used as legal authority in other cases and often contributes to the law that is followed in other cases. Not all cases result in written published decisions or are accepted for publication and not all attorneys have handled cases that have resulted in written opinions or decisions. A written decision usually means that the case was determined to by legally significant or involved issues of importance to the law and the legal community. Look to see if the attorney has handled cases that have resulted in any written decisions and whether the cases involved an area of law that is similar to your legal issue.
Trial Experience and Ability to Take the Case to Trial: If you are hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit or pursue a legal claim through litigation, or if trial or litigation is even a possibility, you should look for an attorney that will be capable of taking the case to trial if necessary. Look for an attorney who has a track record of actually going to trial in cases and look at the results they have obtained. Certain attorneys prefer not to go to trial because trials are complex, time consuming and take time away from other matters. Other attorneys may be willing to take a case to trial but have little or no actual trial experience. Handling a trial involves not only a solid understanding of your case and the legal rules but many other skills including the passion and innate ability to be able to convince a jury.
Who Will Be Handling Your Case? It is important for you to know who will be handling your case. In many law firms, the lawyer that you speak with or meet with at the initial consultation is not the attorney that will actually be handling your case. Many times cases are assigned to other attorneys in the firm or responsibility is shared among a group of attorneys or even non-lawyers such as paralegals. Other times, the file may be assigned to a less experienced attorney than the attorney that you met with at the initial consultation. Look for an attorney that will be handling your case personally and will be responsible for all aspects of the file including writing all legal submissions, taking and attending all depositions and, if necessary, handling the actual trial.
To speak with an experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorney, contact the Law Offices of Gregory S. Schaer, LLC, conveniently located in Monmouth County, New Jersey.