How To Pick A Personal Injury Lawyer: Ultimate Guide

Not all personal injury lawyers are made equal. Choosing the right personal injury lawyer after you have suffered an injury or been accused of causing one is paramount to ensuring your interests are protected.

Picking a personal injury lawyer is not a complicated process, but it does require you to do your homework. To help you pick a personal injury lawyer, we have put together the following guide.  

What Is A Personal Injury Lawyer?

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A personal injury lawyer specializes in legal cases in which the plaintiff has been injured and is now looking for some ways to hold the other party at fault for what they have done. The lawyer can also represent the defendant that is being accused of causing the injury.


More often than not, the case is settled outside the courtroom with the culpable party paying the injured party monetary compensation, such as medical fees. In situations where the case cannot be settled privately, the lawyer will take the case to trial.

At the most basic level, the personal injury lawyer's first step in taking on a client's case is to investigate the client's alleged injury. From there, the lawyer will interview witnesses (if there are any,) gather evidence and request relevant documents, such as police reports, hospital records and an employer's documentation of the injury.


If the lawyer determines there is a case to be made against the alleged defendant, then he or she will have to decide whether it is in the client's best interest to settle or go to trial. To make this decision, the lawyer will consider the weight of the evidence, witnesses and the weight of their testimony and, finally, the likely outcome of the case if it were to go to trial. The lawyer will also take into consideration the wishes of the client. 

Why You Might Need One?

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You May Overlook Certain Details Of Your Case


As a victim in a personal injury case, it may be difficult for you to see things that make the defendant seem less guilty. Without a set of professional eyes to examine the facts of the case, you may place unwarranted culpability on the defendant and ignore facts that make you look at least a little to blame. Vise versa, you may overlook evidence that pins the fault on the defendant and instead wrongly conclude that it was something you did that caused the injury.


In either situation, you risk forfeiting your right to receive compensation or pursuing legal actions that were baseless in the first place. The result is time, energy and money wasted. Or, in the case of a warranted action, the result is money lost.

You Are Ill-Equipped To Fight The Big Guy


Say you slipped and fell inside a big box store while shopping for groceries because the floor was wet and there were no signs to warn you of any danger. Your shoulders are hurt because of the fall. For a month now, the discomfort from it has kept you from doing the things you enjoy doing. You decide to sue the store.


You are confident you'll win because there was, you hope, a video of your fall and witnesses who would come forward to testify on your behalf. So, you file a case and, shortly after, the store responds by filing a reply to dismiss your claim. The court agrees. You are at a loss and without a solution to the injury you so unjustly endured.


The moral of the story is you can't — and shouldn't — fight the big guys alone. Corporations and insurance companies are well-equipped with high-salaried lawyers to defend their clients. They will harness whatever resources there are to not have to pay for your injuries or, God forbid, admit fault.


When you are faced with a Goliath of a defendant, it's best to solicit the help of a personal injury lawyer, especially one who has experience in handling these kinds of defendants.

You May Say Or Do The Wrong Thing To Jeopardize Your Case


We've all been warned against apologizing in the event of a car accident. What about other things and rules we should observe when we fall victim to injuries or someone accuses us of being the perpetrator of an injury? Either way, having a personal injury lawyer on your side can help prevent and correct mistakes as your case gets resolved.

You Don't Know The Ins And Outs Of The Legal Process And Medical Terminologies


A qualified personal injury lawyer should have a well of knowledge regarding personal injury law. He or she can advise you on the weight of your evidence, file legal documents and requests, and tell you if it's too late to file your claim. Without the aid of a personal injury lawyer, you risk missing out on key defenses and filing deadlines, and confusing procedural rules, which can all cause your case to go down the drain despite any obvious merit.


Retaining a personal injury lawyer is important if you want to navigate successfully through the often congested and complicated legal system. It also is important to hire a personal injury lawyer for the purpose of understanding anything related to medical diagnoses and processes, which is a highly specialized area of knowledge that cannot be learned easily by lay people.

How To Pick A Personal Injury Lawyer

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Do Your Research


Don't just rely on the advertisement on the bus stop bench or the one on the radio station repeated that's repeated every half hour. Don't even base your decision on what you see on the billboard on the side of the highway. Do your own research. And, while you're at it, ask yourself what you're really looking for in a personal injury lawyer, and know what you're looking for hinges largely on what kind of money you're willing to spend.


Some personal injury lawyers will take on a case on a contingency basis, meaning he or she will only receive compensation if your case resolves favorably in court or in a settlement. This is often the case with lawyers specializing in car accident injuries. Otherwise, fees for lawyers will vary depending on the level of experience and expertise.


Some things to consider in your research:

  • What type of personal injury lawyer is this? Pro-plaintiff (for the person injured), pro-defendant (for the person alleged to have caused the injury), or both?
  • How has this lawyer's cases gone in the past? Did they represent corporate clients, low-income clients, high-profile clients or a mix of different clients?
  • Does the lawyer have trial experience, or is the lawyer an experienced negotiator who has successfully settled many cases before trial?
  • How long has the lawyer been in practice?
  • Does the lawyer practice personal injury law only, or does he or she take on other types of cases?
  • Does the lawyer understand medical terminology and processes?
  • Is there any client testimony regarding the lawyer's performance?

Check And Verify The Lawyer's Record And Claims


After you have done your initial research, verify the lawyer's records and claims with reliable sources.


Here is a list of things you should check and how to check them:

  • Disciplinary record. No one wants a lawyer who was in violation of a state's bar rules. To find out if a certain lawyer you are considering has been disciplined for bad conduct, check with your state's bar association. Disciplinary records are a matter of public record and can be accessed easily online in some states.
  • Reputation. Check lawyer review sites like Avvo.com to see if the lawyer is as reputable as he or she claims. Better yet, ask those in your community about the lawyer's reputation. Is the lawyer involved in local affairs, attend events and known as a straight shooter?
  • Referrals. You might know someone who has used the lawyer's services before, so ask them if they would recommend the lawyer to you?
  • Track record. What were the outcomes of the cases the lawyer handled in the past? Was he or she more successful at negotiation or conducting a trial?

Tools to help you find the right personal injury lawyer include:

  • Google. Search for personal injury lawyers in your area. From there, read the lawyer's website thoroughly and consider the things mentioned above. 
  • State bar association. You can always contact your state's bar association's referral service.
  • Lawyers.com. This search tool not only lets you find qualified lawyers in your area, but it also shows the lawyer's community ratings.

Contacting And Meeting The Lawyer For An Initial Consultation


Once you have narrowed your list of potential lawyers, the next step is to call and request an initial consultation. Before you go to that first meeting, prepare a list of questions to ask your potential lawyer.


You may want to ask the lawyer about:

  • His/her fee structure 
  • Other similar cases and their outcomes
  • Details of the lawyer's experience and areas of expertise
  • The degree of confidence the lawyer has for winning your case
  • How long the case is expected to take

Do not hesitate to contact the lawyer after the meeting if you think of follow-up questions. Choosing the right personal injury lawyer to represent your interests hinges on the information you learn.

Conclusion

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Whether you are an injury victim or are being accused of causing an injury, you do not have to go through it alone. With the help of the right personal injury lawyer, you can rest easy knowing your interests are represented with the care and diligence you are due.

How Much Do Lawyers Make: Your Ultimate Guide

Have you ever had to hire a lawyer? It can be a very daunting task but one that is quite necessary when you have a legal situation. Along with all the fees that can be added to your court case, it can be a bit surprising to find out how much do lawyers make from it all.

Going to court is one of the not-so-fun things that we sometimes must do. Whether we are the ones initiating or if someone else is suing us, it can be costly either way. There are ways to keep the cost down if we know how much do lawyers make before we even have them represent us.

How Much Do Lawyers Make?

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The salary amount of a lawyer can be based on what type of attorney they are, years of experience and their education. Here is the breakdown of attorney’s and their salaries.

Corporate Attorney

This attorney represents cases involving businesses and their transactions. Rarely do they actually go to court for these are usually negotiated beforehand. The salary is between $–$$, depending on the size of the firm. In order to get a job in this area of law, you must have graduated from one of the top three law schools: Yale, Harvard or Stanford. But this isn’t enough to land the job - you must also have had excellent grades and a great GPA as well as worked in the field as a clerk.

Public Defender

This is an attorney that represents you in a criminal case when you can’t afford one on your own counsel. This beginning salary is $, but someone having 11 years or more experience could earn $$ in this position.

Prosecutors

These are the lawyers that work for the government in your area. They prosecute the cases in a criminal court, representing the people. This salary starts at $ but could be more depending on the agency.

Patent Attorneys

These attorneys, who are also called patent agents, represent those who have created something and need to get a patent or documentation proving ownership for it. They are with the USPTO, which stands for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Experienced patent attorneys make $$ or more a year.

Personal Trial Attorneys

These lawyers, if they are representing someone very affluent, can earn a lot of money. They can make a salary from around a half a million dollars up to $$$ million annually!

How Much Does A Lawyer Cost?

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Depending upon the services that you need and what kind of rate you agree to, the following are the types of ways your lawyer can bill you. As with all of these, make sure that you have a contract that states what it is that is included in these fees. Watch out for administration and filing fees---for these are generally not included.

Flat Fee

This means that you will not wait until the trial to settle the payment agreement. It could be that you give them the entire amount up front to represent you. This is the simpler method because it is straightforward and leaves no room for surprises on how much do lawyers make. There are some cases in which this works well. They are amicable divorces, immigration cases and bankruptcy disputes, to name a few.

Hourly Rate

It is generally as it sounds. The attorney charges for his services by the hour. They state how long they will need to work on your case and then send you an itemized bill. Of all the ways to bill their clients, this is the most popular one. This rate is not charged without consulting the client first. It is agreed to prior to billing as with all other fees so there are no surprises. Keep in mind on this particular one that the rate will vary depending on certain factors. This includes the location of the firm, business costs and level of experience of the attorney.

Contingency

This type of fee isn’t used for all cases. It is when you have a case like an accident, collection or injury case; when it is settled, the lawyer takes his or her fee. This is a percentage that is agreed upon prior to the attorney taking your case. This fee is contingent upon the outcome of your case.

Retainer

This is a payment that you give to the attorney directly to have the counsel start on your case. It is to retain his or her services to help you on your case. When the attorney works on your case, the counsel will be deducting fees from the retainer amount. You will receive statements reflecting monthly charges or another deduction method. Should you decide not to continue to pursue the case for any reason, you will probably not get your money back from the attorney.

Referral Fee

Should your own attorney not be able to represent your specific case due to his lack of experience, they can refer you to a colleague or another firm. This would be an additional fee and would show up on your bill. It is important to verify the experience of your attorney on your case should you not wish it to be referred during the process.

It is important to note on all of these types of fees that these can be used on civil cases. Flat and/or hourly rates are mostly for criminal cases for those take longer and are more entailed. They also require a retainer fee. By knowing these fees, you will know more on how much do lawyers make.

How To Choose The Right One In Your Price Range

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Picking the right lawyer can be the make or break point for your case. It could mean---if you were in a criminal case---the difference between being acquitted or going to jail. This being the case, you should not be quick to grab just any lawyer. It isn’t enough that they have a shingle hanging above their door or their name on a big office; it is their experience that you are paying for.

Does Your Case Need a Lawyer?

This is something that you must consider at the very start, even before deciding on an attorney. Look at the time involved in putting a case together and going to court. Also, apply this knowledge you now have on how much do lawyers make. There is nothing wrong with filing if it is worth it. It will require a lot of effort. Your time is valuable, and it should be compensated so make sure that this case will cover those costs. You might not need to hire a lawyer to do this, but again, your time is money so be wise about your decision. A good attorney makes things go right without all of the stress.

Trust

This should be the number one reason to find the best attorney for your case. You need someone that is a liaison between you and the court system. Not all of us have law degrees nor have even stepped foot on the Yale or Harvard campuses. It is important to have a qualified attorney that knows their way around the legal system whether it be taxes, divorce proceedings, injury and DUIs, naming a few. You should not face these alone, and even if it costs more, it will ultimately help you in the long run to have someone in court on your side.

Confirm All Costs

You must verify all the costs that are involved before settling with an attorney. Don’t be afraid to get a written estimate like you would for a car repair. No one says you can’t shop around for best attorney like you shop around for the best car? You might find that one attorney has more fees included, such as admin, filing, etc. But don’t base everything on how much do lawyers make because the price isn’t the only factor. You must feel comfortable with this attorney for he or she will be representing you.

Paperwork

No one likes paperwork. We leave that up to some else when we can, like some administrative assistants. But when we need legal papers to be filled out and filed on our behalf, this is the area that we might not want to make a mistake on. Attorneys are almost essential for this part because they know what the court needs for whatever case that they are representing. They are familiar with due dates, type of forms and even what certain judges need to see to move the case along.  It is best to have a lawyer that you can call that you trust to help with this instead of going it alone. It could be costly for you; it could cause your case not to go your way.

Conclusion

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When you finally get the breakdown on how much do lawyers make, you can see why they charge what they do. Their overall costs are based on the type of case, location, education and experience. It isn’t--in most cases--that they are overcharging you, it is the fact that we must be more aware of their fees. We must verify that we understand exactly what they are charging so there are no surprises. It is hard enough to go through a case against us; we certainly don’t need to add more stress on top of it. Attorneys are there to help, and if you find the right one for you, you won’t mind the costs.

How To Pick A Real Estate Attorney

Buying or selling your home can be a stressful process, with many steps you may be unfamiliar with. Most people only buy a house once or twice in their entire lives. Since this can be such a big investment in your life, you want to make sure you have trained professionals on your side to help you through the process. Having a real estate agent helps, but having an experienced one is invaluable. Involving a real estate attorney in your transaction can protect your interests and ensure that your closing goes as smoothly as possible.

What Is a Real Estate Attorney?

In many states, lawyers can help regular people with many issues they run into, from traffic tickets to buying a house. Real estate attorneys are lawyers who specialize in dealing with matters related to property, from buying a home to boundary disputes. They often handle closings—the final step in a real estate purchase transaction where the documents finalizing the transaction are completed. They also work with mortgage lenders and title insurance companies to make sure the transaction goes smoothly and that your property is protected.

Why Do I Need One? 

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There are many reasons to have a real estate attorney involved in your property transaction. In most cases, the real estate attorney is the go-to expert in providing legal advice should you run into an unexpected situation. They ensure that the transfer of property is legally binding and done in their client’s best interest and can help you navigate issues if there is a dispute.

Personal Interest

The real estate attorney does not have a personal interest in the outcome of the transaction other than making sure their client’s best interests are taken care of. Other people involved in the transaction (including real estate agents) may have a great financial interest in the outcome because they are working on a commission basis. While those with a financial interest in the transaction may try to steer your decision-making process, your attorney is there to provide the information to help you make the best decision for yourself.

Legal Advice 

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Most states have rules against the unauthorized practice of law. In a real estate transaction, the real estate attorney is the only person who can accurately explain the law to you and provide legal advice. Whether you are involved in a residential or a commercial transaction, a skilled real estate attorney can be a great resource if you have questions.

Real estate attorneys also have the legal training to help you handle property issues that may pop up unexpectedly, or help you navigate complications in your transaction. The attorney is the person best equipped to help you figure out what to do if it is discovered that there are disputes over property lines, easements, or other matters related to the transaction.

If there is a dispute over the contract for the property, a real estate attorney can also answer any legal questions you may have about your obligations under the agreement. Questions about backing out of a contract or getting your earnest money back are best directed to a professional who can explain to you the repercussions you may encounter if you cancel the contract.

Title Searches 

Real estate attorneys not only provide legal advice and answer questions. In many states, they also perform title searches to certify the title to the property is free and marketable. This usually entails a search of all the public records to determine ownership of the property and the status of any outstanding mortgages and liens on the property.  

The results of the title search determine what requirements may need to be met in the transaction to secure a title insurance policy for the new buyer. For example, if there is an existing mortgage on the property, a title insurance company may require the old mortgage be paid off to issue an insurance policy.

Working with Other Parties and Performing Closings

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The real estate attorney and their team also work with mortgage loan officers, the other party’s attorney, and the real estate brokers to make sure that the transaction proceeds smoothly. Most times they will help you sign your final mortgage loan package at closing and send your mortgage documents back to your lender to get authorization to fund your loan.    

In some states, real estate closing transactions are legally required to go through a real estate attorney’s office, and the law requires the funds to be disbursed through the attorney’s trust account.  

Drafting and Recording Documents 

One of the most important things that a real estate attorney does for a property transaction is review and draft the documents that will transfer ownership of the property. Attorneys can draft purchase contracts, deeds, and other agreements related to the transaction.  

It is also the attorney’s responsibility to make sure the documents for the transaction are correct. Mistakes in the legal description of the property being transferred can cause serious problems down the road, so you want to make sure you have a real estate attorney involved to cut down on any potential problems in your documentation.  

Some states require deeds and mortgage documents to be filed with county Register of Deeds offices to be effective. The attorney can facilitate this part of the process to make sure your transfer of property is legal, binding, and effective, and that official public notice of the transfer of ownership is available in your local property records.

How to Find a Good Real Estate Attorney

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Since having a real estate attorney is important to a successful and smooth transaction, you must know how to find an experienced attorney who will be a good fit for your needs.

Recommendations 

If you don’t already know a good attorney, you can always ask for referrals from people you know. Take recommendations from brokers involved in your transaction with a grain of salt because you don’t know what kind of arrangement they may have with the attorney’s offices. Sometimes, perfectly good attorneys may feel the need to help a transaction go through to keep getting business referrals from the brokers.  

State Bar Referrals 

In some states, you can contact your state bar association and ask for a referral to a licensed real estate attorney. Many bar associations keep records of licensed attorneys in their state and can direct you to someone with a good record with the state bar who also specializes in real estate transactions.

Lawyer Match Services 

There are also several online referral services. You can usually use these services to search for the area of law you require an expert in, and they can match you with law firms or attorneys in your area who work in the appropriate area of law.

Consultations 

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Once you have a list of potential real estate attorneys, you can always narrow down your options by asking for a consultation. Before you go to their office, you will want to ask about a consultation fee. Some attorneys may offer free initial consultations, but some charge a small fee for an initial interview. If the attorney charges for an initial interview, you will want to know what the fee is, and how long the consultation will last. You may get most of the information you need over the phone without an in-office consultation.

Some information you should consider before making a final selection of your attorney includes:

  • The fee arrangement required by the attorney
  • Whether the attorney is licensed in your area (and maybe how long)
  • Whether the attorney has been investigated or disciplined by the state bar
  • Whether the attorney has handled similar cases in the past
  • Whether the attorney has experience in real estate transactions
  • Whether the attorney fees are refundable if the transaction falls through

Starting Your Case or Transaction 

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Once you have selected the real estate attorney to handle your transaction, the attorney’s office may contact you to collect important information to get a file started for your case or transaction.  

Most times, the attorney’s office will have information sheets for you to fill out detailing the property address, your name and the proper spelling for names of the people or entities that will take title to the property, the sale price of the property, and other pertinent information. If you are selling the property, they may also ask you to confirm whether you have a current mortgage or home equity line of credit on the property (which they will verify in the public records during a title search). To help your transaction go quickly and smoothly, it is in your best interest to fill out and send the information sheets back to the attorney’s office.  

Conclusion 

While many people may think trying to go through a real estate transaction without an attorney involved may save them money, in reality, that is not the case. Having an experienced real estate attorney on your side can not only ensure that your transaction is legally binding, but it can also provide you with peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing the legal issues associated with transferring property are taken care of.  

If you are taking part in transferring real estate, it is in your best interests to reach out to a real estate attorney to help you navigate the process and answer any legal questions you may have.

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Where and How to Find a Good Business Lawyer

Many people feel like they do not need a business lawyer, at least until they are in trouble. That is when it is already too late. Every business, whether they’re small or big, needs legal expertise at different stages of work and while dealing with clients. Hiring a business lawyer can help you work efficiently and without any legal hassles while saving you a great deal of money that could go into fighting long legal battles, which is something that can be avoided easily with the right preparation.A good business lawyer advises you on everything from obtaining business licences and permits to contract agreements or customer complaints. He/she is, in fact, of great benefit to startups or emerging businesses that cannot afford to lose money because of legal implications.

What Is a Business Lawyer?

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Business law is also called mercantile law. It refers to the laws that govern dealings between people and business matters. A business lawyer ensures that no laws are violated during these dealings. Wrong decisions, unhappy clients, intellectual property theft, hiring the wrong employees, hurriedly drawn drafts and agreements, or non-compliance with state and federal laws can cause great damage to your businesses. They can spoil your reputation and bring big financial losses. A legal expert can help you prevent or mitigate such problems before they occur.

Why You May Need a Business Lawyer

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Formative Aspect

When your business is new, or even if the doors are not even open yet, there are a lot of legal procedures that need to be sorted out before your business can get off the ground. These procedures can seem quite baffling, and any errors may cost you dearly in the future. Startups, especially, do not have a lot of money to spare for such unforeseen or unnecessary circumstances. A business lawyer can guide you every step of the way and ensure that your business has all the legal backing it needs to avoid getting sued by anyone.

Buying a Business

If this situation is where you are starting off, you know that there are many steps involved. A legal expert can help you with the evaluation of the business, make the purchase and acquisition agreements, and ensure the smooth transfer of permits and licenses.

Structural Decisions

As a new businessman, you would like to be in charge of the entire decision-making process. However, it is not easy for one person to understand liabilities, asset values, tax obligations, comply with local rules and regulations, or study the laws that govern employer-employee relationships. A business lawyer has expertise in more than one area and can take some of this burden off your shoulders. This allows you to focus on what you opened the business to do.

Filing Patents

Filing a patent for a new product or service is a complicated and time-consuming process. Hiring a legal expert can expedite the process for you and get it done without any errors on your part.

Preventive Aspect

It is way more cost effective and prudent to prevent lawsuits or complaints from clients or employees rather than dealing with them after the damage has been done. It is the work of a business lawyer to go through all the regulations that are put in place for smooth business operations and oversee your business decisions to avoid any future complications.

Compliance with State and Federal Laws

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Understanding and complying with local business regulations is crucial, and because there are so many, it may be quite difficult for new business owners to research and adhere to all the rules. Whether your business dealings are interstate or outside the borders of the country, you’re purchasing or selling property outside the state, or you’re paying taxes, you need to be careful and ensure that you are not breaking the law in any region. Along with his/her legal expertise, a business lawyer can do the research for you, save you a lot of time, warn you if there are any discrepancies, and save you numerous financial hassles.Businesses also require expertise and talent from other countries. In such cases, business and immigration laws go hand in hand. Understanding immigration laws allow businesses to hire people overseas as well as have employees visit various branches to contribute to particular projects. A legal expert will know how to best go about this without breaking any federal laws or overstepping any boundaries. Such a professional also ensures the safety of your employees, who trust you as a business owner, in order to keep them away from legal harm.

Drafting of Contracts

Businesses require contracts at every stage of functioning. It is wise to not do any work without a formal contract between the two parties, be it clients, employees, or business associates. Legal experts have a sound knowledge of all that must be included in contract drafts and negotiations. They often have templates that can be used, as well. However, these obviously need to be edited to suit the requirements of one particular business. It is best to leave the nitty-gritty to a business lawyer and focus on areas that need your attention.

Employee Issues

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Whether it is the hiring process, rules of payment, employee compensation, or the process of letting people go, a legal expert can prevent issues with employees by laying down all the required rules and regulations for a smooth hiring and firing process and keep you safe from expensive lawsuits.In the case of manufacturing and sale of consumer goods, labor laws come into play, as well. Hiring a business lawyer will simplify the regulations for you so that you are able to put into place all the necessary hiring processes, comply with working conditions, distribution requirements and price control, or deal with compensations in case of accidents, whether they are natural or man-made.

Protection of Intellectual Property

For any business to thrive, it is required that their ideas, information about new products and services, marketing campaigns, and advertising campaigns remain confidential. Businesses must have the rights to own and use their ideas and property to profit them. A business lawyer will help your company register and enforce copyrights as well as prevent or deal with intellectual property theft.

How to Find a Good Business Lawyer

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When you are setting up a new business, most of the people you are looking to work with are found through your personal contacts or references. While this is not a bad way to find business associates or potential employees, it is not completely safe. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you find the right person for your commercial requirements.

Sift Through Personal Contacts

This is what most people do, and there is no harm in it. We prefer finding somebody that you personally know or a lawyer recommended by friends and family rather than calling up a total stranger. This is fine as long as you have them vetted out and check if they are able to deliver exactly the kind of work that you require

Use Online Legal Directories

In many states, the lawyer bar associations maintain an updated list of all the licensed legal practitioners in states, along with their area(s) of expertise. Legal help sites can come to your aid, but they are more generic in nature, and it is better to retain a lawyer you can approach all the time, as well as one who knows about your business, specifically. Additionally, one cannot trust all the reviews posted on these sites.

Know What You Want

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You need to find a business lawyer that understands exactly what your business needs and how to go about getting it. It is better to seek out professional help based on an area of expertise, such as intellectual property, share trading, and labor laws. Determine why you need a legal expert and what his/her tasks will be for you. Once you shortlist a few lawyers, ask them the right questions to understand whether they are the right person for your business.

Interact and Enquire

Just reading and knowing the qualifications and area of a business lawyer’s expertise is not enough. It is important to interact with the lawyer you plan to hire. Ask him/her about their work experience, especially in your field of business, and for clients similar to you. Inquire why he/she is working in that domain, specifically, how they would go about working for you, how many people would be involved, how they charge, their mode of communication, possible conflicts of interest with your business, and if they can provide client references.

Conclusion

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All businesses require legal expertise, but there are certain tasks, such as obtaining a business licence, applying for a loan or filing tax returns, that you can handle yourself. As a result, one need not spend money on these moves. However, the objective of hiring a good business lawyer is to save you time and money. Thus, it is necessary to consult with multiple lawyers before you choose the one that is right for you so that your choice works out in your budget, has the right approach, and one is available for you when you need advice. Having a business lawyer makes every task easy for you and ensures peace of mind.

What Is The Purpose Of A Durable Power Of Attorney?

Power of attorney gives a trusted individual the right to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. A durable power of attorney is most often used by seniors to give another person the authority to act in their name in medical and legal matters, including those about property, taxes, business deals and real estate. It is also known as a continuing power of attorney because it will continue even if the principal; the person granting the authority, becomes mentally incapacitated or incompetent.

The documents drawing up a power of attorney (POA) can be particularly about the purposes and duration for which it is conferred. The agent is usually a trusted friend or close relative who can be relied upon to make decisions in the best interest of the principal when he or she can no longer do so. For seniors and their families, it’s best to plan and set up a durable power of attorney, especially for medical matters, well before it will be needed.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

discussion of what is written in the document

A durable power of attorney is also known as a continuing power of attorney and remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated and incapable of taking or communicating decisions. Different states have their power of attorney forms which state the conditions and duration of the POA,as well as the start date. These forms must be filled out completely and correctly for the POA to become effective.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney gives a trusted individual the authority to act on your behalf. It can pertain to legal or medical matters or just be limited to a single task. The scope and duration of the POA can be specified in the document. The person delegating the authority is called the principal, and the individual who is given the authority is called the agent or attorney-in-fact.

Types of POA

There are two types of POA: medical and general. General Power of Attorney gives the agent the authority to act for the principal in financial and legal matters like property and real estate, business, taxes, lawsuits and in dealings with the government agencies such as applying for benefits.

Medical Power of Attorney typically gives the agent the authority to make decisions regarding medical matters and healthcare. It is sometimes named differently in different states and may be known as Health Care Proxy, Designation of Health Advocate, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, etc.

Both types of POA can continue even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated if the word “Durable” is added.

Defining the Scope of Power of Attorney

shaking hands of approval

The scope of POA can be defined so that it is limited to a specified matter or duration. The limits are clearly specified in the document. A durable power of attorney remains effective even if the principal becomes mentally incompetent. The state of being mentally incompetent is defined as the inability of the principal to make an informed decision or of communicating such decisions. In fact, this is why seniors and their families should plan and set up durable POA well in advance of it becoming necessary.

Mental incapacitation can result from mental illness or physical injury which affects the functioning of the brain. This includes strokes, coma, paralysis, etc. For seniors, it may stem from the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In general, certification from a medical doctor is required for a POA that springs from mental incompetency.

How Long Does Durable Power of Attorney Last?

The durable power of attorney comes into effect when the form is properly completed unless specified otherwise. Alternatively, a “springing” durable power of attorney springs from an event such as the mental incapacitation of the principal, which is specified in the document. Durable POA typically ends with the death of the principal unless an ending date is specified.

When Is a Durable Power of Attorney Used?

A durable power of attorney is typically used when seniors need someone else to make decisions and take actions on their behalf in medical and legal matters. This may be done in the event of a sickness or injury or just because the principal needs help with managing affairs such as medical care, bills, and legal matters. It continues if a senior cannot make informed decisions about these and other matters. For seniors and their families, it is usually best to plan and establish a durable POA well before it will be needed.

Durable POA may also be needed if an injury or illness makes it impossible for the senior to communicate such decisions. For example, a disease such as a stroke may make it physically impossible to speak or communicate by any other means, even if mental functions are unimpaired. Many seniors may just choose to delegate durable POA to a trusted individual because they need someone to act on their behalf in making decisions regarding medical care, managing social security, applying for benefits, paying bills, etc.

Planning Ahead

Seniors and their families should plan and prepare for a durable power of attorney, especially for medical matters. In case of an accident or injury, or the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it will save time, money and trouble if a trusted family member or friend can step in and take over the decision about medical care and treatment. It’s best to be proactive rather than wait too long and risk a situation where the principal is no longer capable of making a decision about choosing an agent.

If a senior does become mentally incompetent due to injury or illness without establishing a durable POA, relatives will have to go to the courts to make decisions about their medical care and treatment. This can be expensive and time-consuming and distract their efforts at a time when the medical care of the individual should be the highest priority.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Durable Power of Attorney?

Durable POA is a relatively easy way for seniors to get help in managing their affairs without the intervention of a court. Even if there is no serious medical condition or emergency, it can be helpful to have someone who can manage financial and legal matters for them. It’s important to have someone who can make decisions about medical treatment and long-term care if and when the need should arise.

On the other hand, there is great potential for fraud and abuse in this position of trust, and unfortunately, this does happen very frequently. One way to prevent against fraud and embezzlement is to specify the limits of the durable POA.

Benefits

Durable POA allows your agent to help you make decisions about medical care and deal with financial matters like bank accounts, taxes, social security, insurance, property, etc. Your agent can deal with third parties like banks, credit card companies, and government agencies and programs like Medicare and social security on your behalf. They will have to provide a letter of attorney to establish this authority.

A durable power of attorney is a relatively easy way for seniors to manage their affairs without the intervention of a court. The terms and limits can be specified. Durable POA ends with the death of the principal, which means that the agent does not have any control over the estate unless that is specified elsewhere.

Disadvantages

While there are many benefits for seniors in giving durable POA to someone they trust, there is always the risk that this trust may be abused. Fraud does happen, and it can be a way for an agent to embezzle funds and transfer property to themselves or others. They can even change the names of beneficiaries on life insurance policies and annuities to benefit themselves.

In some cases, an agent may not be acting from malicious intentions but still fail to carry out the wishes of the principal. As in all matters, mistakes can be made. If fraud is detected, by the principal or the heirs, the agent may be sued for the return of assets as well as damages.

Can Durable Power of Attorney Be Revoked?

A durable power of attorney can be revoked at any time by the principal provided he or she is of sound mind. A properly-drafted statement of revocation will have to be given to the agent as well as to any third parties with whom the agent has had dealings in that capacity. If the agent is a spouse, the durable POA is automatically revoked in case of divorce.

Durable POA is automatically revoked on the death of the principal, and the agent has no control over the estate unless specified elsewhere.

Conclusion

A durable power of attorney helps seniors by giving a trusted individual the authority to act on their behalf in medical and legal matters. It can be important in situations where the principal becomes mentally incompetent to make informed decisions due to injury or illness. Durable POA is a way for seniors and their families to manage their medical and legal affairs without the intervention of the courts.

Tips On How To Choose A Good Immigration Lawyer

Are you hunting for the right immigration lawyer to help you with your case? Have you been surveying your options, but are not sure where to even start?

Finding the right immigration lawyer for your particular legal situation is crucial to ensuring that your case receives the attention it deserves. If you are filing a petition for a green card or visa, working to stop your deportation, or are dealing with a similar immigration matter, you need to know what to look for in an immigration lawyer so you can choose one with your best interests in mind.

What Is Immigration Law?

In laymen’s terms, immigration law is the body of laws, statutes, and other regulatory measures determining who can and cannot enter and reside in the country. Immigration is not to be confused with naturalization. Immigration determines who can enter and leave a country while naturalization governs who can become a citizen. The two areas are connected to be sure, with most attorneys specializing in immigration law also handling cases related to naturalization.

Origin of Immigration Law

In the U.S., for instance, immigration policies and laws are governed by the President and interpreted by the Federal Court System. International treatises also govern immigration procedures, such as those put forth by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

This body of laws has existed since 1976, allowing individuals who are citizens and live legally in a country to travel abroad without incident. This means they can travel and live outside of their home country if desired, and their country of origination must take these citizens back upon their return.

What Immigration Law Encompasses

Court gavel use in a judicial court

Lawyers practicing immigration law are experts on which rules individuals are required to follow if they want to enter and exit the U.S. legally. Immigration law covers customs inspections at points of entry like border security and airports. Immigration laws also dictate what documentation is needed to enter and exit the country, such as visas and passports.

This body of laws gives customs officials the authority to check any possessions you bring into the country. Customs officials even retain the right to hold you for questioning if they deem it necessary upon your arrival into the U.S. Choosing an immigration lawyer is of the utmost importance if you are trying to navigate these laws for your green card, visa, or any other immigration matter.

In fact, around 19 percent of immigrants in the entire world reside in the U.S. That is a staggering figure, particularly when you consider that the nearly 50 million immigrants who live in the country make up about 14 percent of the entire population of the U.S. in total. The country’s immigration laws are constantly developing and changing, so hiring a lawyer who is an expert in these areas is key to ensuring your case is handled appropriately.

Immigration Options

If you are looking to immigrate to the U.S., there are a few different routes available to you. To be in the country legally, you need to receive official sanction to enter the U.S. The document that provides you official sanction is known as a visa. There are different visas based on the duration and purpose of your stay. Depending on your country of origin, if you are coming for a short visit unrelated to business, you may not require a visa at all. If you need a visa, the most common options to choose from are family and employment visas.

With a family visa, a U.S. citizen may submit a petition to allow other family members to immigrate to the country. There are some strict parameters, but a citizen can usually request to bring in their parents, siblings, spouse, and children. A permanent resident living in the U.S. legally may also petition for their spouse and children to come into the country.

There are many forms required to submit a petition for a family visa, which is why it is so important to make sure you receive guidance from a licensed immigration attorney. Employment visas can be divided into different subcategories, including those for skilled workers, priority workers, and investors. Again, navigating this complex maze of documentation and requirements is best done with legal counsel.

The Role of an Immigration Lawyer

woman is having a meeting with her immigration officers

An immigration lawyer aids clients in pinpointing the right visa for their situation that will allow them to enter the U.S. legally. Lawyers practicing in this area of law may also aid and advise regarding deportation proceedings, helping to make or break the client's case.

An immigration lawyer may work for private firms, in public interest settings, or on behalf of the government. For attorneys who work for private law firms, you must pay a fee for representation. There are non-profit organizations that assist individuals with immigration matters. Non-profits typically hire lawyers to assist clients with navigating the complex paperwork and process of immigration. Lawyers who practice immigration law for the government enforce these laws, such as analyzing applications, litigating in court, or helping to create new immigration statutes and procedures.

Role Analysis

woman shaking hands for a successful meeting

If a client can potentially apply for different visas, it is the job of the immigration lawyer to help them select the best option. Some immigration attorneys work with employers who are trying to bring one of their foreign employees into the U.S.

After aiding their client in choosing the right visa, the lawyer will help the individual to process their visa application and give them insight into any factors that could cause their denial. If you are applying for a visa, the attorney may work with you to make sure you are adequately prepared for your visa interview and help you gather the documentation required to attest to your character and fitness recommendations.

If you are facing deportation, an immigration lawyer can serve as your defense and speak on your behalf in court to the immigration law judge presiding over the proceeding. Your entire case can depend upon you having a skilled, knowledgeable lawyer at your side adept at offering sound advice and engaging in litigation.

5 Tips to Hire a Good Immigration Lawyer

1.  Consider the Costs

Our first tip for you to consider when hiring a good immigration lawyer is the costs involved. You should be ready to pay a considerable fee for quality legal services, but they should still come within the realm of reason. Attorneys spend a long time in school and training for the profession, so their knowledge and expertise comes at a cost. They will work very hard on your behalf and have every right to charge associated fees.

In fact, if their fees are too low you should question the credentials of the immigration lawyer you are considering. Lower than average attorney’s fees could be a sign of inexperience or under-qualification. Alternatively, if the attorney’s fees are above the realm of normal fees, you might need to examine what the lawyer’s motives are.

You should plan on paying around $100 to $350 per hour for the services of an immigration attorney. Sometimes, you might get your first consultation free or have it discounted on your bill down the line. If you seek free legal representation through a non-profit organization, you will get qualified representation but the wait might be too long for your case.

2. Be Sure to Ask Questions

It is perfectly acceptable to ask plenty of questions when hiring an immigration lawyer. There are key questions you should always get answered before making your final decision. Ask how long they have been a licensed attorney practicing law, what their experience is with immigration law, and if they are licensed to practice in your particular state.

You should also inquire whether they are members and associated with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, what the case will involve, and the potential outcomes expected. Find out what will be required on your end throughout the duration of the case, who will handle your case, and the means of communication that will be used. Definitely ask about the projected total costs and how much you will need to pay throughout the case. Prior to signing an attorney-client agreement, see if you can get references from past clients. This should never be an issue as a lawyer with a successful case history will have plenty of pleased clients.

3. Verify Credentials

Just to be safe, always take the time to verify the credentials of any immigration lawyer before you hire them. Once they give you the information requested, go on the bar website for their state or region and make sure everything is in order.

Call the references the immigration lawyer provided you with so you can get a clear idea of the process their cases followed, how their cases were managed, and if they were pleased with the outcome.

4. Avoid Unsavory Characters

While this may seem like an obvious tip for choosing an immigration lawyer, avoid unsavory characters. There are many qualified and reputable legal professionals in the field, but some unethical types worm their way in.

For instance, if you speak with an immigration lawyer who advises you to do something wrong or illegal like put inaccurate information on an application, bend the truth with an immigration official, pay money for a bribe, or anything else ethically questionable, run far and fast. If you want your case to go smoothly, the last thing you need is to get in trouble with the law.

Make sure you only hire a licensed, practicing immigration lawyer. No matter what you hear, a notary or other legal professional cannot handle the case for you. There are plenty of legal professionals who are not actual practicing lawyers, purporting to have the prowess to navigate and advise on immigration matters. Not only is this not the case, but you could end up losing money, having your forms filled out incorrectly, or running into legal trouble down the line.

5. Weigh Your Options

Our final tip for choosing a top-notch immigration lawyer is to weigh your options. After doing a careful review with the tips noted above, look over your shortlist of attorneys to see which one fits best with your situation.

By talking with different attorneys and getting an idea of how they approach and handle cases, you can see whether you will work well together. You can also determine which are more qualified to handle your case than others.

Conclusion

Choosing an immigration lawyer who is qualified and knowledge to help you reach a successful conclusion to your case is a process. It takes time and careful consideration regarding your options.

Make sure you consider the costs involved, pose plenty of questions to any lawyers you meet with, verify their credentials, and stay away from anyone that shows a hint of unethical behavior. Finally, weigh your options and decide which immigration lawyer is the right fit for your case.

Types Of Lawyers: Your Guide To Finding The Right Lawyer

Finding the right types of lawyers or attorneys for your case is important. Cases can last months or even years, and you will probably need to be in regular correspondence with your lawyer. There are many types of lawyers. Some are highly specialized while others may handle a wide range of cases. Different types of lawyers’ fee structures will differ.

Choosing a lawyer is a highly personalized decision and there are likely to be many choices in your area. Usually, lawyers’ geographic areas determine to some extent what kind of law they practice. A lawyer in a small town will probably have more of a general practice while lawyers in urban areas will be more specialized. Sometimes a lawyer will decide he or she can handle all of a clients’ needs; at other times he or she may send their client to a specialist.

Some law firms focus on one specialized area of law, such as intellectual property. Other law firms comprise several lawyers whose practice areas complement one another. For example, Lawyer A would focus on one practice area such as Real Estate, Lawyer B would practice an area such as Estate Planning, and Lawyer C would focus on litigation and trial work. This loose collection of specialists would be called a general practice law firm.

You can always find more information about a lawyer by visiting their website or by calling them. Most types of lawyers offer free consultations where you can get a feel for them before starting payment.

Types of Lawyers

There are multiple factors to consider when talking about the different types of lawyers out there. It depends on the case and your budget, for starters. The best-connected lawyers with stellar track records will command a higher price. They will probably have offices in downtown office buildings and have great views. The size of the law firm may determine how much personalized attention you get. If you are a small client at a firm that deals mostly with big-name corporate clients, you may get lost in the shuffle.

There are many types of lawyers for all different cases. However, most lawyers fall into two categories; they practice either civil law or criminal law.

1.Criminal Law Lawyers

criminal-lawyer-in-eaton

Criminal law pertains to people who have been accused of committing a crime. Lawyers work as criminal defense attorneys to protect your rights and make sure you get a fair trial. They represent you and are with you every step of your case. They help you in cases against a person, like assault and battery, cases against property, such as burglary or arson, or any other criminal offense. If you are accused of a crime, it is imperative to find a competent criminal defense attorney.

2.Civil Law Lawyers

civil law

The second type of lawyers deal with civil law. Civil law covers an array of specialization. These are some types of lawyers who practice civil law and their specialties.

 

PUBLIC INTEREST

Public interest lawyers usually work at non-profits or governmental agencies and charge lower fees. Public interest lawyers may be open to taking cases pro bono.

 

ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning lawyers help their clients plan for what happens to their estate after they die. They draft legal documents like powers of attorney, trusts, wills, and deeds.

 

FAMILY

Family lawyers handle cases pertaining to adoption, divorces, and custody cases. They argue for their client’s interests in court, represent their client in custody cases where they are arguing for or against child custody, and also help handle adoptions, which is often a lengthy legal process. Also, mediation or settlement hearings are a positive alternative to trials in these cases and family lawyers help facilitate these.

 

IMMIGRATION

Immigration lawyers specialize in helping their clients navigate the immigration process, meaning change their status, get green cards or visas, and avoid deportation. Immigration lawyers may help H-1B visa holders, for example, or help “extraordinarily talented” individuals, such as athletes or musicians, come to the United States.

 

PERSONAL INJURY

Personal injury lawyers help people who have personal injury complaints. Here, the personal injury lawyer assists the injured party in recouping damages from a person or institution. For example, there have been stories in the news about customers suing McDonald’s about hot coffee spills, leading to warnings printed on cups that warn customers their beverages are hot.  You may also hire a personal injury attorney to defend you if you are being sued.

How Do I Know Which Kind of Lawyer I Need?

The types of lawyers you should look for depends on your case and its complexity, where you live, and what you can afford. We recommend you search online for the best types of lawyers near you on sites such as www.avvo.com. With Avvo, you can search for lawyers near you by practice areas.

Avvo.com creates ratings for the lawyers on their sites from information taken from their profiles, information from state bar associations, and other organizations that license legal professionals. Avvo only provides ratings for lawyers whose profiles have been claimed. Otherwise, they do not provide a numerical rating. However, 97 percent of lawyers in the United States are rated on Avvo.

How Are Avvo Ratings Determined?

Avvo ratings, which are scored 1-10, are based on the lawyer’s experience and background, their legal community recognition such as peer endorsements, associations, awards, and legal thought leadership track records including speaking engagements and publications. All factors affecting a lawyer’s Avvo rating are visible. You can also read reviews of your prospective lawyer on Avvo from past clients.

What to Look for in a Lawyer

1.Positive Rapport

It is very important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. Honesty is key. Your lawyer can best help you when you give him or her complete and accurate information. Your lawyer’s job is to represent you. Trust and an open line of communication between the two of you is very important. Changes to your case may come at any moment, information may be required of you, and it is possible you will need to be in regular contact with this person, especially if it’s something like a divorce case.

2.Availability and Response Time

You can feel out your prospective lawyer’s availability before you sign a contract by sending a few phone calls and emails to see how fast you get a response. If your concerns and questions are addressed quickly, then you may just have found the right lawyer for you.

3.Track Record

You can search any prospective lawyer’s name online to see what has been said about him or her. You can check your state bar association’s website to see if any complaints have been lodged against your prospective attorney.

You will want to ask about whether they have handled this type of case before and what the outcome was. Less-experienced lawyers will come at a lower cost. Lawyers with the best and most experience will come at a higher cost.

4.Fee Structure

You want to be clear on how you will be charged for their services. If it is a small legal matter, you likely need not use the services of a high-powered litigator. Smaller matters may be better handled by a lower-priced attorney. Some attorneys offer a flat fee structure while others will bill by the hour. Besides the work on your case, time spent corresponding about your case (such as phone calls and emails) are often also billed. Lawyers who bill a flat fee may charge for additional costs such as the cost to file court documents. It is important to get clarity on these matters before proceeding. Small costs can add up.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing the best types of lawyers for your needs can be simple. Use online resources to get all the best, up-to-date information on types of lawyers near you. Don’t get lost in the shuffle with a high-powered attorney who doesn’t have time for your case when you need a personalized, hands-on approach. The right types of lawyers out there will see you and your case as important—not as just another case number on the docket.