Saturday, February 22, 2014

So Your Business Has a Legal Problem - 8 Useful Tips on What to Expect From Your Lawyer

As a business owner, you are usually run off your feet with the challenges of operating your business. The last thing you need to worry about is a legal problem. Many business people put off dealing with a legal problem because they don't know where to turn, don't have the time, or most often, are afraid of how much it will cost and how much time it will take.
Legal issues come in many forms:
· A customer failed to pay an account despite many promises. · You just received a letter from a government agency. · You just found out that your former manager has set up a competing business and has stolen your best customer and one of your key employees. · You have just been sued for $100,000. · Someone told you that one of your standard form contracts won't stand up in court and you are worried about it. · You have a dispute with your landlord. · You have a problem with a US or European customer. · Your business has been defamed on the internet. · You just found that your warehouse manager has been sexually harassing a female employee. · An employee is damaging your business but threatens to sue if you fire him. You are not sure how to handle it. · You are involved with a Workplace Safety Insurance claim.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the kinds of legal issues business people run into frequently.
Tip #1 - Seek out legal help at the first sign of a problem
Suppose a competitor has been passing off its business under your name and it's costing you customers and sales but it's hard to estimate the amount. Unless you act promptly, it may be too late to seek an injunction from the Court. If you think you have a claim against another party under a contract, a limitation period begins to run from the time the contract is breached and usually expires two years later. It's not a good idea to leave the claim to the last minute.
If you have an issue with an employee who is working unacceptably, it's important to develop a legal strategy as early as possible. The longer you wait, the more it may cost your business.
The short point here is that it is important to seek advice as soon you detect a problem and before anything has been done to make it worse. Crisis management is always more expensive and time-consuming than early response.
Tip #2 - Have a team of lawyers to call on when you need them.
Every business should have a team of on-call lawyers. This is less expensive or complicated than it sounds. All you need are the telephone numbers and email addresses of trusted corporate, employment law and litigation lawyers. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need an intellectual property lawyer, who deals with trademarks, patents and copyright. You may even need a tax lawyer because not all tax issues can be solved by an accountant.
If the amount of your legal dispute is very small, such as a claim or complaint by a customer for $1,000 or less, it will be uneconomic to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, there are other helpful resources. The BBB has a dispute resolution process which permits BBB businesses and their customers to resolve disputes by arbitration or mediation. You don't need a lawyer and the only cost is a small administration fee. More information about this process is available on the BBB website.
If your case is in the Small Claims Court ($10,000 or less), you might need a paralegal who specializes in these kinds of cases. Paralegals are now regulated by the Law Society but they are not lawyers and they are not a substitute for an experienced lawyer.
Tip #3 - Learn what to expect when a dispute arises.
As a business person, you have learned that success is often the result of building relationships. The relationships you build with your lawyers can be just as important to your business success as the ones you have with your customers, suppliers, banker and insurance broker. A relationship with your lawyer built on mutual trust and respect will save you many sleepless nights over the years and probably make or save you a lot of money.
There are several ways to find good lawyers for your business:
  • Ask business associates or relatives if they have someone to recommend. If you get a recommendation, find out more about the firm and the lawyer by using some of the research methods below. · The internet is a very useful resource for finding a lawyer but you have to be careful. Any lawyer can list with various online legal directories. Anyone can have a flashy website. You have to move past the flash to find the substance.
  • When looking for a lawyer on the internet, look for someone who has experience in the field you require. The first name on a Google search may not be the best choice. Some lawyers have written extensively about the law. This is a useful indicator of expertise and standing in the legal community.
  • Some lawyers list cases they have been involved in on their websites. Broad litigation experience in complex business matters over many years is a good indicator of competence.
  • The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario, Canada) has a lawyers' referral service. The service provides a name but you have to check the details out yourself. · The Law Society certifies specialists in several areas of practice. Certification as a specialist signals that the lawyer has achieved a higher standard of experience in his/her area but certification isn't mandatory. Many competent lawyers have long experience in a field without applying for certification. You have to decide if this is important to you.
  • · If your problem is outside Ontario, find a local lawyer first. Many firms have networks with lawyers globally and are able to refer to lawyers in the USA or other countries. Refers between colleagues are often more effective.
When you call, don't expect the lawyer to solve your business problem over the telephone. The first discussion is for the lawyer to identify whether s/he can represent you and for you to assess whether the lawyer appears to have the skills to deal with your problem. If you have a legal problem the lawyer believes his/her firm can resolve, an office meeting will be arranged.
In business matters, lawyers customarily charge a consultation fee for the first office meeting. At the meeting, the lawyer will give preliminary or urgent advice and develop a go-forward strategy. The lawyer may be able to give a partial fee estimate and will ask for a retainer to cover some of the work. No lawyer can guarantee the outcome. At this early stage, there are usually a lot of unknown matters. While the lawyer may be able to give you a partial fee estimate in a litigation matter, it's impossible to say with accuracy how much it will cost. It depends on too many unknown factors.
It will be then up to you to decide whether or not to hire the lawyer to represent you further. The decision you make will depend on your sense of confidence in the lawyer. Has the lawyer listened to you? Have your questions been answered? Does the lawyer appear to understand your problem? Has the lawyer presented the risks and downsides of your case? Every case has risks and costs. Beware of a lawyer who tells you only what you want to hear without assessing the strengths of the opposing party's case.
Some lawyers will accept a monthly or annual retainer which entitles the client to telephone advice a few times a month. More complicated issues require separate engagements.
Tip #4 - The least expensive lawyer is unlikely to be the best person to handle your legal problem
Consider this scenario: you are looking for a lawyer for a complicated lawsuit. You call Mr. Jones, who answers on the first ring. You tell your story, which has many facts the opposite party disputes. Mr. Jones says, "You have a great case. I'm sure you're going to win." When you ask how much it will cost, Mr. Jones says "Don't worry, you won't have to pay me anything unless you win. Just come on down to my office and we'll get started."
Beware of any lawyer who tells you this. While Ontario lawyers are permitted to charge their fees based on contingency, i.e. a percentage of the result, this type of fee arrangement is only rarely applicable in business cases. It never occurs when facts are in dispute, recovery is uncertain or if the amount is small.
When you retain a lawyer, you need a trustworthy advisor, who will point out the weaknesses of your case as well as the strengths. A litigation lawyer who is waiting by the phone for your call and tells you exactly what you are hoping to hear may be too hungry or too inexperienced to manage your case. He may be in over his head and will bail out as soon as your case takes a negative turn. By then, your legal situation may have worsened. It will be more expensive and perhaps impossible to repair it.
Even worthwhile cases require careful analysis and risk assessment. An experienced litigation lawyer will typically do his by for fees on an hourly basis plus GST and any out-of-pocket expenses necessary for your case.
Good litigation lawyers are often in court, at mediation or other litigation procedures, at meetings or discovery. However, good litigation lawyers always call or respond by email within 24 hours. In case of urgency or vacation, the lawyer will arrange for someone in the office to contact you.
Tip #5 - Prevention is better and much less expensive than litigation.
Legal problems are like computer crashes --- they are bound to occur, it's just a matter of time. Unlike computer crashes, some lawsuits can be avoided. Often, businesses owners deal with legal matters only when a crisis arises. They look for the least expensive lawyer to draft their leases, contracts, corporate and employment agreements without regard to skill, competence and experience.
Sometimes, business owners avoid legal steps like failing to make a shareholder agreement, failing to file a trademark application or failing to prepare a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement with a key employee. When served with a lawsuit, they ignore or tear the papers up in anger. These business owners will be caught short when the inevitable occurs. While litigation or arbitration may still occur when there are written agreements in place, you will be in a far more secure position if you have taken precautionary steps before the dispute occurs. If you respond to correspondence and legal papers promptly, you will be better protected than if you ignore them.
Competent legal advice is available for matters such as corporate organization, leases, the wording contracts and other documents you use in your business, partnership and shareholder agreements, your relationships with your employees, your company's trade names, logos and website, your regulatory compliance, your risk management and litigation prevention techniques. It's all important to arrange legal affairs to ensure that your personal liability is limited in the case of a claim against your business.
Ensure that the legal issues affecting your business are in good order. This is likely to save you a lot of money and grief in the future. You might even consider having a legal audit or a "business legal checkup". We plan to write about this topic in a future article in this newsletter. Preventative legal advice may be expensive but it is just as important as fire insurance.
Tip #6 -- Don't assume that 'going to court' means 'going to trial'
If you haven't been involved in litigation before, you may not appreciate that more than 90% of cases settle before trial. While a trial (or even an appeal) is not always avoidable, lawyers use techniques to try to resolve cases at earlier stages. Business people are looking for certainty and to limit expense and exposure.
It's never a bad idea to negotiate a settlement with the opposing party but the timing and approach will depend on the case. It is best to negotiate from a position of strength. This may mean holding off negotiations until enough facts and documents have been disclosed to favour your position.
Mediation is another technique lawyers use to achieve settlement before trial. Mediation involves a neutral mediator, who is usually an experienced lawyer, acceptable to all parties. The parties and the lawyers prepare briefs to explain their positions to the mediator. On the mediation date, after an opening session, the parties retire to separate rooms. The mediator will "shuttle" between the parties until an agreement is worked out or an impasse is declared. This process produces a high rate of settlement even in very complicated cases.
Tip #7 - Understand the risks of the litigation process: Why do lawyers emphasize settlement?
Even if you have an airtight case, your lawyer will still recommend settlement. Lawyers assess risk every day. Even the most airtight case could have problems at trial. The judge may prefer the evidence of the opposing party over yours. The other party's expert witness may be more persuasive than yours. These are just two of many possibilities. A trial is always a last resort.
Another good reason to settle is that even if you win at trial, the case may not be over because
  • The legal costs awarded by the court to a successful party are only a partial recovery of the legal costs payable to your lawyer. · If you lose at trial or if the opposing party does better in court than their settlement offer, you will have to pay a portion of their legal costs. · There may be an appeal which could delay payment for two years or longer.
  • Until a final judgment is granted, a defendant is rarely prevented from dealing with his property - unless the property is the subject of the lawsuit (or some other exceptional situations).
  • The judgment may be unenforceable. The opposing party may be insolvent or go bankrupt. You might not collect anything. · The defendant may conceal his assets or transfer them to family members to make the debt difficult to collect. A separate lawsuit may be necessary to find the defendant's assets or to declare the fraudulent transfer void.
  • The defendant may have assets outside Ontario. A lawyer in the jurisdiction where defendant's assets are located may have to be retained to collect the judgment.
A settlement involves a resolution both parties can live with. If the case involves the payment of money, there won't be a settlement unless payment is made.
Even with these concerns, some cases can't be settled. The positions of the parties may be so far apart that a trial is necessary. As the case progresses, you and your lawyer will have to revise and update your strategy and estimate the legal cost and risk of each stage of the case. Keep in mind that the opposing party is dealing with similar risk assessment and cost issues as you are.
Tip #8 -- Be a good client.
From a lawyer's perspective, a good client is a business person who does the following:
  • Presents all the facts of the case fairly without exaggeration or deception. Tell your lawyer everything; not just the facts that help you. The rest of the story always comes out and usually with adverse consequences. · Considers the lawyer as a trusted advisor and advocate.
  • Has a well-organized set of relevant documents.
  • Provides other documents and information promptly when requested.
  • Accepts that every case has weaknesses and works with the lawyer to develop a strategy to minimize the weaknesses.
  • Recognizes that the lawyer cannot guarantee the outcome but can only provide effective advocacy to produce the best result, often as a result of negotiation or mediation.
  • If an examination for discovery or trial is required, takes the time to prepare to testify.
  • Asks for clarification on all matters that are unclear.
  • Understands that in litigation matters, it is impossible to predict the fees accurately but that the lawyer will gladly provide estimates of imminent steps in the case.
  • Pays retainers when asked and settles interim accounts promptly when rendered.
  • Considers the lawyer's recommendations carefully and provides reasonable instructions.
One of our firm's clients is a technology business which started as a family operation and has grown to the point that its brand is now accepted and recognized globally. Our client's president knows hows to get the most out of his professional advisors. He is always respectful, trusting of professionalism, intelligence, experience and competence. He is prompt in responding to requests for information, appreciative of good advice and excellent service. He works hard but he usually has a happy and cheerful attitude.
Our client expects is professional advisors to have the same enthusiasm for their work as he does for the operations of his business. And another small matter: our client pays every professional account within 48 hours of receipt. He believes that if he had to challenge his lawyer or accountant's bill, the professional relationship is not a healthy as it should be. Our client expects fair treatment, excellent service, sound advice, creative strategy, experienced advocacy and determined, no-nonsense negotiations. And he gets all of them in spades! A lot of business people who are dissatisfied with their professional advisors could learn a lot from him.
These tips offer no assurance that your legal matter will turn out exactly as you expect. However, by following our suggestions, the resolution of your business dispute is likely to be a less expensive, less time-consuming and less stressful experience and possibly more successful. Keeping your business legal affairs in good order permits you more time to focus on making your business flourish.
Igor Ellyn, QC, CS and Orie Niedzviecki are partners of ELLYN LAW LLP Business Litigation and Arbitration Lawyers, a Toronto law firm, established specializing in dispute resolution for small and medium businesses and their shareholders.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Felony: Important Facts to Know

Criminal defense lawyers know your life and liberty is greatly at risk of being cut down from a criminal felony charge. Even if you are criminally charged for a felony and not convicted you can still lose your job and suffer greatly from the social stigma. If charges have not been filed and you are being criminally investigated, now is the best time to hire a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer will preserve evidence in your favor and bring it to the prosecutor's or police's attention before they file charges. In most cases it is much easier for a lawyer to prevent criminal charges from being filed then trying to get them dismissed after charges have been filed.
Criminal Defense Lawyers Protect You from the Government's Power
If you have been arrested, indicted, or are being investigated for a criminal offense, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your life. The earlier a criminal lawyer intercedes on your behalf, the better your chances of having a better result on your case. A criminal defense lawyer can protect rights you may not even be aware of in an investigation by police, prosecutor or detectives. It is very unusual and rare for a defendant charged with a serious crime to not benefit from having a private lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer will protect you from the government's power and use of coercion, especially from overzealous prosecutors.
The Government Provides Public Defenders to Those Who Can't Afford a Private Lawyer
Public defenders are lawyers that work for the government. Government-appointed lawyers are hired and paid by the state on a case-by-case basis. A public defender or appointed lawyer is made available to those not able to pay for a private lawyer. In such instances, you are not entitled to pick your lawyer, who may or may not have experience with your particular type of criminal law case.
You Have the Right to a Private Criminal Defense Lawyer
Private criminal defense lawyers having great case results are able to do so because they work with a team of top criminal lawyers, have a slew of experts and resources, and also have the necessary time to work on your case. All jurisdictions in the United States allow all persons to have a private criminal defense lawyer. It is your right, as stated in the United States constitution, to be represented by a lawyer for any type of case. You also have the right to a lawyer at any stage of the case, even before charges are filed and you are only questioned.
A Felony Charge Can Severely Hurt Your Life Forever
When convicted of a felony crime, whether you go to prison or not, your life may suffer serious consequences during imprisonment and after. Even if a criminal case is dismissed, when a case is filed, there is still a stain on the defendant's record that may appear in a background check. No lawyer can stop your criminal record from showing up in an internet background check that comes up in seconds with the click of a button. A criminal conviction on your record will affect your ability to get any job, housing, obtaining a job license, getting a mortgage, higher education schooling, student loans, any government assistance programs and more. Furthermore, if you are convicted of a felony you are usually not eligible for low-income housing.
60% of Ex-Felons Remain Unemployed, Many Become Homeless
A 2007 study done by the National Institute of Justice found 60% of ex-felon offenders remain unemployed a year after their release. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation states that 75% people convicted of a felony are unemployed. Many unemployed felons have a low quality of life as panhandlers, camp out on the street and the lucky ones stay in homeless shelters, and eat at soup kitchens. Being unemployed makes a former criminal offender more likely to commit a crime and land right back in prison. The facts are clear, once you have been convicted of a crime you may end up revolving in and out of prison for the rest of your life or homeless.
Criminal Law is Not for Amateurs, it is Very Complex and Challenging
Criminal law is extremely lengthy and not for the feeble-minded. Aside from the intricacy of laws concerning criminal charges there exist laws regarding evidence, there are legal procedures, and deadlines strategically used by criminal defense lawyers. One innocent mistake by a lawyer not experienced in serious criminal defense, like missing a deadline or not responding in the required time period could cost you greatly and cause irreversible grave damage to your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to assess the proper legal path to take throughout the case. A lawyer will also have the ability to identify and assess the strengths and weaknesses and counter them with a well devised strategy. Of course, a lawyer working with a team of lawyers, experts and having the necessary resources will be able to pool their criminal defense expertise and knowledge for your benefit.
Cost of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When your liberty is at stake and your life may be affected forever, you should hire the best criminal defense lawyer to protect you. Your life is valuable and this is not the time to skimp or shop around for the cheapest attorney. Consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer who lists at least some of their case results on their website and who also post their testimonials. Some of the best lawyer websites will even post reviews verified by another company. Know that the decisions you make now may determine how your life will be forever. What kind of life you will have is more important than the money used to hire a lawyer.
Many criminal defense lawyers bill hourly or have a flat fee arrangement. A lawyer giving a flat fee upfront will assure you get the legal representation and the retainer will assure you of no surprises. Many of the best criminal defense lawyers even offer payment plans because they are dedicated to offering the best legal representation and getting you the justice you deserve. However, know that the best lawyers also hire the best experts and use cutting edge resources to work effectively on your case and all these things come at a cost. Be prepared to pay a reasonable deposit for the best criminal defense lawyer.
If you do not have any money to pay a private lawyer, explain your dire circumstances to your friends and family and be sure to tell them how your life can be damaged forever if you don't get help from a qualified lawyer now. Get a loan; many times you can even get a bad credit loan based on your assets like owning a home or car. Apply for credit or check your credit cards for unused credit. If you have a credit card you may also make a request to your credit card company to increase your balance.
Before talking about cost, first talk to the lawyer about your criminal charge or investigation to find out if the lawyer can help you. If the criminal defense lawyer can help you then the fee will be discussed. If the lawyer cannot help you, you may ask them to refer you to the right lawyer or source.
Criminal Defense Lawyers for White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes are criminal charges generally regarded as non-violent. Most white collar or federal cases involve fraud. If charged with a white collar crime, it is wise to choose a criminal defense lawyer working with a team of lawyers and experts and has the resources to give you the best legal representation and defense. Do not choose a lawyer just because he is a family friend. Your life is at stake and you need appropriate legal representation from a criminal defense lawyer. Know that a lawyer who works with legal business documents or processes is not automatically qualified to work on white collar criminal defense. Criminal defense is a completely different arena and it is best to hire a lawyer with experience in the criminal court room, laws and procedure.
White collar criminal charges, especially fraud, are currently being penalized and pursued ferociously by the FBI and U.S. lawyers. Now is not the time to sit back and wait for criminal charges to be filed if you or your associates are being investigated. It is imperative you hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately to lessen the severity of the charges that do get filed, steer the case in a favorable direction, or possibly prevent charges from being filed.
The Prosecutor's Position
Prosecutors have power in determining what criminal charges are filed, which charges they are willing to change and the penalties. Criminal defense lawyers know how to have a relationship and communication with a prosecutor that works favorably for you. The top criminal defense lawyers know how important it is to communicate well and effectively with prosecutors. No book can teach that, this valuable experience is beyond price and can only be gained in working as a criminal defense lawyer.
Don't Risk Your Life, Never Represent Yourself
Criminal laws and defense are elaborate and the complexity is beyond what you could ever attempt to learn about in a book. There are facets of criminal law not immediately visible to the amateur or lawyer just graduating law school. The best lawyers are not going to publish their winning strategies and expert resources in books for competitors to pick up. Don't even give a second thought to representing yourself; hire a criminal defense lawyer for your life and future.
Do Not Plead Guilty because You Think the Odds are Against You. Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The prosecutor, detectives, or investigators may make you feel like they have all the evidence to convict you and you have no chance. Do not buy into this; hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately to preserve evidence in your favor and without delay conduct a private criminal investigation that will help you. A lawyer will also conduct an investigation as to how the evidence was obtained, stored and many other variables. A lawyer will also question witnesses and look at their history and character for flaws that weaken the prosecutor's case.
You are the best reason to hire a competent criminal defense lawyer.
Learn about criminal law defense and what to do to protect yourself if you are being investigated, charged with a crime, and other criminal defense matters.Read information on the best criminal lawyers and their case results. An expert on criminal defense from LibertyBell Law Group wrote this article.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lawyers and Their High Regards in the Eyes of the Society

A lawyer is an asset to the society. Lawyers or a lawyer has a huge role to play. He provides legal aid and legal guidance to the society in general. Also, it is his social responsibility. We need them at every wake of life. They are the vertebrae of our society. They not only provide us with legal advice but also act as advisors as and when required. There are two broad divisions of lawyers, criminal lawyers and civil lawyers. Whichever law they are practicing, they have to follow some ethics. It is said that we should not hide anything from the lawyers. So these people hear a lot of confessions from us. But they are bound by the oath of secrecy and should not misuse this information. On the other hand, they listen to the problems of their clients and then discuss every aspect of those problems. They also make the clients aware of their fundamental rights.
There are many subdivisions to these two forms of law. There are employment lawyers, malpractice lawyers, traffic lawyers, divorce lawyers, fraud lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, insurance lawyers, wrongful death lawyers, and lawyers who deal with drugs and environmental law and employment and child custody. So anybody who wants to take up this profession has a wide range of subjects to specialize in.
Lawyers have the freedom of self-employment. They can enter government jobs or they can start practicing on their own. A survey in United States of America shows that around 27% of lawyers practice on their own. But this subject has a wide scope. With the ever-increasing population, the problems are also increasing at an alarming rate. Especially the rates of divorce have shoot up. Along with divorce, the problem of child custody has also taken a hike. Then there are disputes over property. Different companies also hire a lawyer or a train of lawyers to safeguard themselves. So there is no fear of going jobless even when there is financial recession throughout the world. The lawyers can work in partnership or they can start practicing on their own. Either way a self-employed lawyer can earn a lot if he has the necessary skill. The salaried lawyers usually work in local areas whereas the self-employed lawyers have the advantage to migrate to their chosen city and start practicing there. The keenness to relocate is always advantageous for this job; then the lawyer has to sit for an additional bar examination of that state.
It is not difficult to begin a career as a lawyer. A person has to study law for three years from a law school and then needs to take a bar examination on the fourth year. The actual skill of a lawyer is tested when he is at the courtroom. He has to speak quickly yet clearly and with authority. He cannot have stage fright or fumble in the courtroom. If he can conduct himself smartly in the courtroom half of his battle is won. So if you think that you are smart, a pretty good talker and have confidence, foresight and a logical mind, then law might be your best career option.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Selecting a Good Criminal Lawyer

Like a child who has discovered a new toy, this information will open up a whole new world of awe and wonder for you.
If you have been emotional with a crime, you want to save a lawyer immediately. You will want superstar who has expertise in criminal guard because it is a greatly singularized region of the law.
If you can't offer to hire a lawyer in a criminal guard problem, a lawyer known as a "broadcast guardian" will be appointed for you. However, if you are looking to hire a criminal guard lawyer in exclusive training, one of the best spaces to pioneer your explore is here at
You can do a boundless explore to come up with a register of lawyers by with the Find A Lawyer explore box that can be accessed anyplace on (You should see a explore box on the right periphery of your notebook shield.)
We have just reached the tip of the iceberg, as the remainder of this article will help to further your understanding of this complex subject.
If you do a search for a criminal guard lawyer but don't injure up any names, swell your explore to other close cities. Also, track the explore tips provided in rejoinder to your unsuccessful explore, or click on hunt Help.
Once you are able to injure up a register of lawyers, look at each lawyer's profile by clicking on his or her name, or by clicking on on the bond to "More tidings . . ." that plays next to each registering. If the lawyer has a Web position, catch it out by clicking on the bond provided in the profile.
Next, use the tracking guidelines to do some first shielding and narrow your register of lawyers down to three or four prospective candidates:
* Look at biographical tidingsrmation, with suchlike you can find on Web positions for the lawyers and their law hardens. Do they play to have expertise in the region of criminal law that you penury? Do they have any tidingsrmation on their Web positions that is valuable to you? Do they belong to any decent associations in the region of expertise that you penury?
* Use explores engines to side the Internet. Do explore under the name of each lawyer and his or her law hardens. Can you find any articles; FAQ's or other tidingsrmational pieces that the lawyer has done that give you a reading of comfort?
* Ask other people if they have heard of the lawyers and what they think about them.
* Commerce your aver bar association or outing their Web position to find out if the lawyers are in good footing.
* Test out the golden pages of your call almanac. Do the lawyers puff? If so, do you find it compelling? Obliging? Classy?
* Test out the online archives of your limited newspaper. Has there been any broadcasted about the lawyers or the gear that they have handled?
* Conperipheryr any singular penuries you have. For example, would you promote from an attorney who speaks a words other than English?
Don't eliminate a lawyer just because he or she didn't have the time to collect with you on sharp warning. Good lawyers are hectic so they may not be able to waste as greatly time as they would like with prospective clients.
Conperipheryr the lawyer's baton. Good lawyers have good people running with them and they may emissary a lot of responsibility to their baton. At a slightest, you should expect to be treated courteously and professionally by the baton in a lawyer's agency.
Criminal guard lawyers will almost forever rush by the hour, or by a dull fee that is allocated up front. Policy of professional conduct for your aver fully probable prohibit a lawyer from incoming into a contingent fee deal for a criminal action. Duty can be competitive so it may be to your promote to store around. However, lawyers with a good reputation in this region are open to rush more. With your boundless Dom perhaps on the line, it may be worthwhile to pay more for a lawyer or a law harden with a great reputation.
You will doubtless want to hire a lawyer with at slightest a few living of experience, and singularly one with experience in the mode of prosecution you are facing, like travel offenses, drug crimes, sex offenses or sallow collar crimes.
Criminal gear is regularly resolved by reason deals with the borough attorney's agency. This may expect that the lawyer have a good running relationship with the prosecuting attorney, or to at slightest have a reputation that tips sense. Hence, you will want a lawyer who plays frequently in the jurisdiction your container is in: central or aver, and, if aver, in the particular region where you are emotional.
Look to see if a lawyer is affiliated with associations that cater to your penuries, like the subject Association of Criminal argument Lawyers. Most avers have averred organizations that are related, as do many large cities.
Save there are singular circumstances; you will want to hire a lawyer with a limited agency. Because many criminal problems might happen in a jurisdiction where you don't actually live, you may penury to hire an attorney limited to the criminal prosecution, sooner than limited to your home.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Understanding the Lawyers on Retainer Concept

In this life, people cannot do without the services of a good lawyer. Crime happens everyday around us. Sometimes we find ourselves in rare situations that make us suffer unfairly. Other personal circumstances such as bankruptcy, real estates and mortgage force us to hire lawyers. In one word, good lawyers are very imperative. Dealing with lawyers is not a simple thing. Many issues concerning hiring lawyers are crucial and they come first. For example, you many find yourself hiring lawyers on retainer. These lawyers are not any different from those you know.
The lawyers only ask for a retainer fee so that they can give you their services. What is a retainer fee? This type of a fee is on hourly basis. It is different from the normal charges you pay a lawyer because of defending your position in court. They include the following:
• Consultation fees - Before you can start working with a given lawyer, you have to set a few appointments with him or her.
• Research work - After listening to your side of story, your lawyer spends some time doing research to help you. You will have to pay for his or her time.
• Interviews - as the lawyer studies your case, you and him or her will look for possible witnesses. Then, your lawyer has to conduct an interview with each witness. Most lawyers want to receive a pay for their time.
Lawyers on retainer want only to ascertain your seriousness in the entire procedure. That is why they will ask for a specific deposit first. When looking for this kind of a lawyer, examine your budget first. Most people desire to save up money in legal matters as much as possible. You should look for a cheaper hourly rate lawyer. Some people do not take it kindly. However, if you think about it, you put aside huge amounts of money as down payment for the assets you love.
If you plan to hire a lawyer about a case related to the same assets, you should not feel bad if ask to pay a retainer fee. A retainer fee is just a small deposit compared to other types you have paid before. The more you refuse to pay the fee, the more you delay your justice. Even so, take your time to select a good lawyer. There is a big chance that you will sort out good lawyers from bad lawyers if you take your time. When you find a good lawyer, make sure that all retainer agreements are in writing.
Then you and your lawyer should sign the document. This is a good way of building a relationship with the attorney. The document should demonstrate how the lawyer allocates the money through out the legal procedure. You should not work with any lawyers on retainer if they cannot follow the document stipulating your agreements. The best place to look for these lawyers is the Internet. Many lawyers who could proof their expertise exist.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Law Firm SEO: Organic Search Results Win Over Paid Search!

New reports and studies have just come out to confirm what the law firm search engine optimization specialist here at Legal Marketing Advantage have been talking about for a while now; organic search results outperform paid searches. If you have been involved in law firm marketing (online) in a big market for the past year or so you may have also noticed this fact. Organic over paid search turns out to not only be true in the legal field, but in most fields now a days as well.

The new study was done by User Centric and proved without a doubt the increasing importance of SEO for not only Law Firms but all businesses that want to gain business online. User Centric used their eye tracking study technology to look at leading search engines Google and Bing through the eyes of their users. The study results found that one hundred percent of people in the study looked at the organic search results on both Google and Bing search engines. That was in comparison to the right-hand paid search ads where only 28% and 21% of participants glanced at these on Google and on Bing (respectively).

To top it off the users not only focused on organic search results more often, versus paid search results, the users spent significantly longer times viewing results of organic search versus the paid search results. This means that search engine users are learning to overlook the paid ads more and more as the majority of online users become more search savvy.

So how should this affect your online law firm marketing? Well first off it means your SEO efforts will be more important than ever and can gain more results for your firm. The fact is it takes longer and takes a more serious effort to rank well on the major search engines like Google and Bing through organic efforts but the pay off in the long run will be much more beneficial. Now does this mean that pay per click (PPC) is dead? Not even close.

Even with these results the top three paid ads can get a lot of action BUT the cost in the main legal areas can be outrageous. The cost and return on investment are going to vary greatly on what market you are after and what portion of law you want to focus on. Some PPC campaigns can still be very successful if a law firm online marketing company really knows what they are doing. The on the other hand if PPC prices are dirt cheap maybe consumers just are not looking for those particular terms.

So if your firm has not already done so, your online efforts need to focus on organic search results. It can take some time depending on where your site is at right now, but with a solid steady game plan, the time and effort put in your SEO can bring in huge results for your law firm.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Successful Law Firm Retreat Information

A law firm retreat is a valuable management and marketing tool even for the solo practitioner. I would say especially for the solo practitioner. The larger the firm the more imperative it becomes for at least an annual meeting to provide direction to the process of running your business. Spike Lee made a movie called "Get On The Bus" and that is what a retreat is about. Getting folks on the bus and moving in the same direction so the firm is moving with more velocity toward desired goals. It sends a message to the whole firm that you are leaders and mangers who plan and work the plan.

What are some of the reasons for having a law firm retreat? Well, that is an "it depends" type of question. You can use these meetings for proactive purposes or for reactive purposes. By proactive I mean you meet to determine what your management and/or marketing priorities are for the next year and who is accountable for each priority as well as by when each priority will be in place. The proactive retreat is usually held in the last three months of your current fiscal year. By reactive I mean a law firm retreat that is held usually as a reaction to some form of crisis like the need to deal with revenue short falls, partner conflicts or profit distribution issues. Naturally, the reactive type of retreat happens when they need to happen with probably less pre-planning. Training retreats can be either proactive or reactive. You can even mix in some training time with any type of retreat.

It is critical that you plan for the law firm retreat well in advance of the date you are holding it. As long as three or four months before the retreat is a good benchmark with a larger firm needing all that time and a smaller firm needing less time to plan and prepare for the retreat. In a larger firm you might have a committee of several partners and the top administrator of the firm that does the planning. In a small firm it might be one or two partners. The larger the firm the more important it is that you have a consultant involved who will help you to determine your needs; gather pre-retreat information; provide expert facilitation at the retreat (so a partner does not have to serve in that role and can be a participant); provide needed objectivity; ask questions that may be challenging for a participant to ask (like the potential "elephant in the room" that nobody wants to talk about); make recommendations; and bring knowledge of what is working in other firms to the law firm retreat. A smaller firm or solo firm might just use a consultant pre-retreat and not as a live facilitator since the major expense of a consultant is having them live at the retreat.

Naturally a retreat needs an agenda and that is part of the pre-planning process. The first question to ask yourself is what is the desired outcome from having the law firm retreat? Other questions to ask include:

1. What process will you use to reach the desired outcome with this retreat?

2. Who will be the note taker in the retreat so key information will be captured and results recorded?

3. Who will be the person in the retreat to assure that each task decided will be specific and measurable as well as someone accountable for that task with a "by when" date that this task will be completed?

4. If you don't have an outside facilitator who will fill that role?

5. Would it be useful to do a personality inventory process with the team before the retreat to increase emotional intelligence? Would this enhance your outcomes?

6. What information needs to be collected before the retreat so you can make intelligent decisions based on data (last year financials and YTD financials, marketing information, team survey, etc.)?

7. Once the law firm retreat is completed what and who will communicate the results to those members of the team that did not attend? Also, if you have team members who do not attend, how will they have input into the retreat process with their information, concerns, requests and recommendations (usually a survey vehicle works for this purpose)?

8. If you had a law firm retreat last year what were the top 5 or 10 strategic objectives? If this is your first retreat what would be a long laundry list of 5 or 10 potential strategic objectives for the firm that could be considered at the retreat (Note: this list would not be the only options discussed, just a beginning list usually developed from the pre-retreat survey)?

9. Where will you hold the retreat? Almost always it is best to be away from your offices even if it is a location in your city. Too many temptations to just step out for awhile to do email or return phone calls. No cell phones allowed being on by the way at the law firm retreat.

You might ask what would be a good "generic" although basic agenda for a law firm retreat look like. Here is one:

1. Welcome & Purpose of the Meeting

2. Review Mission Statement (make changes if appropriate)

3. Review Results of Last Year (what worked and what did not work)

4. SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats to the firm)

5. Generate 5 to 10 Strategic Goals (for the coming year) and major action plans that are needed to make the strategic goals real

These agenda items above need to be on a timeline. One caution here is don't allocate too much time to the review of the mission statement as that can get away from you if you are not careful. Also, the timeline for each agenda item can be adjusted as the law firm retreat unfolds so it is not totally rigid but more a guideline to keep you on track. Do know if you are doing your retreat correctly it is likely people will get too tired or in some cases, on edge with an 8 hour day of it. Consider a 6 or 7 hour day agenda and if you need more time, fine you can go longer if people are still energetic enough or have a two day or day and a half retreat. Finally, do consider having a working lunch catered in as opposed to eating out.

With the above information you are well on your way to having a law firm retreat that will make a difference for you. That said if you have a good plan from the retreat you still need to implement that plan over the next year. Having a plan that sits on the shelf is not going to enable you to reach your goals and that is one thing a coach can help you with as well as your pre-retreat planning or even facilitation of your law firm retreat.