Miami Life is full of uncertainties; one never knows for sure with the unforeseen events of life. When your are embroiled in a lawsuit or have been injured due to negligence or ill-will of others, then the first sane thought that will cross your mind is to seek justice. Whether you are fighting a custody battle, seeking compensation or facing criminal charges, the first step that you need to take is to hire an experienced attorney. Hiring an attorney is no easy task, especially if you have no prior experience working with an attorney. Listed below are important factors that you need to take into consideration while hiring an attorney.
Nature of the lawsuit
First, determine the nature of your lawsuit. Attorneys have their own area of specialisation. You might come across several ads, both online and offline, where attorneys claim to handle different types of cases. Before delegating the responsibility to any particular attorney, you need to make sure that the attorney has experience working in your type of case. Experience counts when it comes to hiring lawyers.
Verify the authenticity of the sources
Millions of people across the globe blindly trust sites that rank or rate lawyers. You might be under the impression that the only objective of these directories is to help you find a reliable lawyer. If that is the case, think again. Most of these directories are manipulative or biased, determining the ranking of attorneys purely based on the advertising income they are entitled to hoard in on. It is foolhardiness to hire a lawyer based on the lawyer ranking sites. Garner as much information as you possibly can on an attorney before hiring their services. Key information that you need to know for a fact includes level of experience the attorney has in the field, proven track record, work history, number of cases handled, cases won and cases settled amicably.
Duties of an attorney
Another important factor that you need to reflect on is whether the attorney has the required licences to practise. It is common knowledge that an attorney needs to have appropriate licences in place if they wish to practise in a particular state. You should also have some level of knowledge on the duties that attorneys are expected to perform, which includes gathering facts, verifying circumstantial evidence, analyzing clients' testimonials, handling lengthy documentation work and creating a defence mechanism that best protect the interests of the clients.
Assess comfort level
Once you have all the basic information, including qualification, reputation, and experience, analysed, assess the comfort level you share with your attorney. There is a good possibility that you will be sharing long tedious hours locked up in an office with your attorney discussing the minor details of the case over and over again. You should be comfortable enough with your attorney to share all inside information and be confident that the information disclosed will be kept discreet and revealed to no third person under any circumstance.
Another crucial factor that you need to mull over is the fee charged. Fees charged by different attorneys vary to a great extent. Some attorneys charge fixed flat rates, while other charge on an hourly basis, whereas few other attorneys charge on contingency basis. In contingency contracts, you will be required to pay only after successful completion of the case on prior determined profit ratio.
1 "Disclosure is one of the most important - as well as one of the most abused - of the procedures relating to criminal trials. There needs to be a sea-change in the approach of both judges and the parties to all aspects of the handling of the material which the prosecution do not intend to use in support of their case. For too long, a wide range of serious misunderstandings has existed . . ."
Disclosure: A protocol for the control and management of unused material in the Crown Court (20 February 2006 - Mr Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Oppenshaw et al).
2 The legal sources relating to disclosure can be neatly found in a variety of scattered sources:
i) Miami the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 as amended (the Act);
ii) the Code of Practice, issued under section 23 of the Act (the Code);
iii) Parts 25-28 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2005 (the Rules);
iv) the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (Defence Disclosure Time Limits) Regulations 1997 issued under section 12 of the Act (the Regulations);
v) In addition, the Attorney General has issued Guidelines on Disclosure, which build on the existing law.
3 The correct test for disclosure will depend upon the date the relevant criminal investigation commenced:
i) In relation to offences in respect of which the criminal investigation began prior to 1 April 1997, the common law will apply, and the test for disclosure is that set out in R v Keane  1 W.L.R. 746; (1994) 99 Cr. App. R. 1.
ii) If the criminal investigation commenced on or after 1 April 1997, but before 4 April 2005, then the CPIA in its original form will apply, with separate tests for disclosure of unused prosecution material at the primary and secondary disclosure stages (the latter following service of a defence statement by the accused). The disclosure provisions of the Act are supported by the 1997 edition of the Code of Practice issued under section 23(1) of the CPIA (Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1033).