Finding your ERISA attorney is the most important step in helping resolve your ERISA issue with efficiency, confidence and success. Here is part 2 of our suggestions for helping your find the right ERISA attorney for your case:
1) Once you have narrowed down your choices to a couple of attorneys, you must prepare carefully. Be sure to set aside time to prepare for your appointments. Write out a list of questions for the attorney and gather all the information and documents you have for your case.
2) Write out any questions your may have about the lawyer’s practice. Some important questions you should ask include: How long have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the field that I am hiring you? What is your track record with cases such as mine?
3) Prepare any other essential questions you have related to your specific situation. Any attorney you are considering should not have problems answering any questions you may have, and should not sound hesitant or seem unsure. However, because of the complicated nature of ERISA law, the attorney may have to do some research.
4) Ask your attorney for any documents you need to collect and bring to your appointment. Gather these documents ahead of time to be sure that you can locate them on the day of the appointment.
5) Take careful notes while you talk to each attorney you attend a consultation with. Initial impressions are important and may come in handy when you are making your final decision, so take detailed notes.
6) Treat your consultation like a job interview. Some attorneys may attempt to take over the conversation and steer it where they want it to go. Be sure to keep the conversation related to your case and how your attorney plans in handling it.
7) Choose an attorney that you feel most comfortable with. Since you will possibly be working with this person for an extended period of time, it is important to feel comfortable and at ease with them.
8) Understand costs for attorney services. Attorneys typically bill for their services as a flat fee, a contingency fee or an hourly fee.
A flat fee is flat fee is one fee for handling an entire matter, regardless of how many hours the matter takes.
A contingency fee means that the attorney does not collect legal fees from the client unless the attorney recovers money for the client, either through a settlement or a trial. The attorney will then take a percentage of the settlement amount, usually between 30 to 40 percent.
An hourly rate mean that the attorney will “bill” hours and then charge the client for the amount of hours worked on the client’s matter.
9) Come up with a budget and determine if the fees for the lawyers you are looking at will fit in with your budget.
10) If possible, negotiate the fee. Ask if the attorney will be able to handle your case for the amount you budgeted. Keep in mind that you have the right to be informed at every stage of the process what will be done next and you will sign a legal document stating that you understand the fees before your attorney will start working on your case.
11) As mentioned above you will need to sign a document before legal services will start. This is usually called a legal service agreement. By signing this legal service agreement, the rights and obligations of the lawyer and client, respectively, will be spelled out.
12) Remember that you can fire your attorney whenever you want and for any reason. Consider firing your attorney if any of the following things happen: missing filing or court dates, refusing to give you updates on the status of your case, not answering phone calls and emails, and not being honest and forthright when you ask questions.
13) Cooperate with your attorney and always provide all requested documents. Despite what you may want to do, do not skip hearings. A good attorney will certainly help you in your case, but there is only so much an attorney can do without cooperation from you. Help your attorney in any way you can and you will have the best chance of success with your ERISA case.
ERISA law can be extremely complicated and the results of your case could mean significant changes for your retirement. For this reason, only an attorney with knowledge of the appropriate ERISA laws can help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law for many years and has handled many cases just like yours. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your ERISA case. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced insurance attorney on your side. We can’t wait to help you with your legal issues and get you started on the path to a successful ERISA case.
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