1. Do I need an Attorney?
A. Tough Question. When the circumstances
involve a death or a significant injury, serious enough to make
you want to take some action, then the answer is "Yes,"
you should see a attorney.
2. What kind of attorney? I don't see anything criminal
in my situation, but I do see a lack of justice.
A. Look for a civil attorney who specializes
as a civil trial lawyer, rather than an attorney who practices criminal
law. Look for an attorney who is recognized by his peers in his
area of specialty. Attorneys have various areas of specialization:
tax, bankruptcy, divorce, patent law, and the formation of contracts.
Therefore, if you believe that your case may end up in court, you
should be seeking an attorney who is recognized for his experience
in the court system. That attorney will be familiar with the procedures,
know the judges, and will usually know opposing counsels tactics.
3. What is it going to cost me?
A. Initial consultations are free. Civil
litigation attorneys usually operate on a "contingency fee"
basis. This will be explained in more detail if you retain us. Basically,
the contingent fee agreement means that if you get nothing, the
attorney representing you shares in that loss. Likewise, if you
recover a financial award, the attorney gets a portion of the result.
4. When should I get an attorney?
A. Early. While the circumstances, witnesses
perceptions, the evidence, and the facts are still available.
5. How long will this take?
A. To talk with the attorney, perhaps
an hour or two of your time. For the entire process, commencing
with the filing of the Complaint to either a settlement or trial,
it all depends
. In California, because of the complexity
of our society and the case loads placed on the courts, the process
can last for a number of years. That is why it is vitally important
to the client that the client work with an attorney who is held
in high esteem by the court and feared by the opposition.
6. Trial? Do I have to go to trial?
A. No. A variety of options exist which
can resolve civil matters prior to going to a jury. Negotiation.
Arbitration. Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures (ADR). Settlement,
either prior to or during a trial. It is your preference and your
7. What is the "attorney-client" relationship and when
does it commence? How do I start it, and when?
A. What you convey to your attorney
is absolutely protected and privileged from disclosure. That means
that it remains that it is private and cannot be divulged. "What
you say here, stays here."