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Frequently Asked Questions
  ›  FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I really need a lawyer?

A. The law is not meant to solve every situation, and many conflicts can be resolved without resorting to lawyers or courts. If you need to take legal action but your problem is small, you may be able to find the right forms and resources online. However, if your situation involves a major legal problem, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our law firm offers a free case inquiry to help you determine whether your problem requires a lawyer, and whether we are the right lawyers to help you.

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Q. What kind of lawyer do I need?

A. It depends on your legal issue. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer that focuses on the particular type of legal dispute that you are involved in. Our firm focuses on employment law, business law, and civil litigation. If your dispute involves one of these issues, we may be able to help you; contact us for a free case inquiry.

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Q. Can I represent myself in court?

A. In some cases. Small claims court was designed to be accessible to non-lawyers. However, if you seek more than $7,500.00 in your case, you may have to file a civil lawsuit, and hiring an attorney may be essential. The basics of how to bring or defend a case may not be difficult, but trying to understand every detail of procedure and strategy can be complicated. It is important to find someone who is knowledgeable about your type of problem. If your dispute involves employment law, business law, or civil litigation, contact us for a free case inquiry.

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Q. How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

A. Every state has its own time limits, called statutes of limitations, and different types of claims may have different periods of time within which you must file a lawsuit. For example, if you have a breach of contract claim, one state may allow one year to sue, while another state may allow four years to sue. Failure to take action within the specified time limit will extinguish your right to pursue your case. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, be sure to consult an attorney as soon as possible to determine what time limits apply to your potential case.

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Q. If I file a lawsuit, when will it be completed?

A. The amount of time needed to resolve a case varies considerably depending upon the type of case, whether it is in state or federal court, the particular judge, and the time needed to argue and negotiate certain procedural and substantive legal issues. The discovery phase of litigation is time-consuming, and the schedules of the parties, witnesses, lawyers, and courts also play a role in the timeframe associated with your case. As a party in a lawsuit, you can expect to spend time talking with your attorney, reviewing documents, and answering discovery questions, as well as attending your deposition, mediation, hearings, and trial. Further, the courts have the right to manage and set the cases which come before them. In order to be efficient, courts often set trial dates many months ahead of time, and set many trials on the same date. Therefore, a case which is set to go to trial may get continued several months if the court's calendar has more than one case ready to be tried on that date. Based on these factors, it is difficult to say how long your case will take to be resolved.

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Q. What can I expect during my initial consultation?

A. The initial consultation is intended to help you determine whether you have a case, whether the attorney is able to help you with your specific legal issue, and whether you and the attorney have a good rapport. Be prepared to discuss the facts of your case, provide documents and witnesses in support of the facts, and discuss fee arrangements. Although our law firm does not represent you until a retainer agreement has been signed by both parties, the information provided during your initial consultation will remain confidential.

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Q. How much do lawyers charge?

A. It depends on what type of case you have, and how much time an attorney will need to spend on your case. Fee arrangements can include hourly fees, flat fees, and contingency fees. Hourly fees are calculated by multiplying the number of hours an attorney works on your case by the attorney's hourly rate. A flat rate sets a fixed price for all of the services an attorney will provide to you. Contingency fees allow the attorney to receive a certain agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or judgment received by you. Keep in mind that attorneys' fees are usually calculated without including court costs and filing fees that are paid up front by the client. Our firm offers flexible fee arrangements; contact us for a free case inquiry.

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Q. What if I believe I have been overcharged?

A. Review your fee agreement and the bills sent to you. All charges should be consistent with the fee agreement. If you have questions about particular charges, do not hesitate to call and ask. If you still cannot resolve your questions regarding fees and charges, your fee agreement should outline the next steps you can take.

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Q. Can you guarantee that I will win my case?

A. Attorneys are required to be competent, loyal, honest, and to represent you zealously within the boundaries of the law. However, even if your case is strong, and your lawyer meets and exceeds these standards, your case could still be unsuccessful. No party is ever guaranteed to be successful in a lawsuit.

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Q. What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

A. Alternative Dispute Resolution, or "ADR," refers to the processes disagreeing parties can use to come to an agreement outside of a formal courtroom, such as negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, or arbitration. Benefits of ADR may include flexibility, lower costs, the parties' choice of the third-party neutral, the likelihood and speed of settlements, the practicality of solutions tailored to parties' interests and needs, the confidentiality of settlements reached, and preservation of the parties' relationships.

ADR can be used outside of litigation or within the existing legal system. While ADR may be chosen by the parties, many contracts contain provisions that require the parties to submit their dispute to arbitration rather than file in court. Even when cases are filed in court, many courts also require parties to participate in mediation prior to trial.

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