TopAttorneysTennessee.com > Our Lawyers
Members of TopAttorneysTennessee.com and the Golden Gavel Society are a very select group of attorneys rated by their peers as well as their clients. These attorneys by reputation have established themselves as preeminent in their fields of specialty. The Golden Gavel Society and TopAttorneysTennessee.com take great pride in presenting to the public and business community lawyers that are by education, experience and peer to peer rating established themselves as the best attorneys in their respective specialties.
When do I need a lawyer?
The following are examples of circumstances when you should seek a lawyer's advice:
- Real Estate law including buying and selling a home, foreclosure, landlord tenant
- Personal Injury including accidents and malpractice
- Family Law including divorce, child support, elder abuse
- Criminal Law including vehicular offenses
- Workers Compensation
- Corporate matters including incorporation, employment, and litigation
- Trusts and Estates including Probate and Probate Litigation
- Patent and Trademark protection
- Securities Litigation
- Tax Litigation
- Civil Rights
The best time to consult a lawyer is before, not after, you have legal problems. It can save you money in the long run and keep any legal difficulties to a minimum. A lawyer can help by offering you legal counseling and advice, preparing documents and, if necessary, representing you in court and other legal proceedings. TopAttorneysTennessee.com is your best source for finding the right attorney for your specific needs.
How can a lawyer help me?
The law can be very complicated and lawyers are trained to deal effectively with these complexities. A lawyer must have attended a state-accredited law school, be licensed by the state Supreme Judicial Court, and must abide by strict rules of legal procedure and ethics. In some cases, a lawyer may agree that you can do some of the work yourself (like making certain telephone calls and obtaining documents), to save you money, while he/she handles the more complicated aspects of your case. Attorneys that are members of TopAttorneysTennessee.com and the Golden Gavel Society are among the top professional in their area of expertise.
Many laws are complex and frequently change. Lawyers are trained to explain the law, provide legal assistance, and be aware of court procedures, filing requirements, deadlines and other details that a non-lawyer could easily overlook.
How do I find the right lawyer?
Your goal is to find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable as both a person and a professional. Your case may involve very personal information and your lawyer will often need to know confidential details about you, your family and your finances to be effective in helping you.
One of the best ways to find a lawyer is to seek a recommendation from people whose opinions you respect: an employer, lawyer at your workplace, teacher, minister, doctor, relative, neighbor or friends. TopAttorneysTennessee.com offers easy access to your local preeminent specialists.
The nature of your legal problem will help define the type of lawyer you will want to hire. Often lawyers have one or more specialties, and you want to make sure your lawyer has experience in your type of case. The lawyer who did a terrific job with your friend's divorce may not have the expertise to take on your auto accident injury matter.
Before meeting with a lawyer, make notes about your problem and gather all of the related documents to take with you. This will allow you to present your legal problem in the clearest and most organized manner possible. It will also allow you to focus on evaluating the lawyer's response to your case and your questions.
What should I ask a lawyer?
At the first meeting you should ask about the following topics. Keep in mind, some lawyers charge a fee for your first consultation, some don't.
- The amount of experience the lawyer has in your type of legal matter;
- A preliminary outline of how the lawyer believes the case should be handled and the time frame for its completion;
- Whether or not the lawyer carries malpractice insurance;
- How you can or will be expected to participate in your case;
- How you will be kept informed about the status of the matter;
- Whether or not the lawyer will provide you with a fee agreement that details fees, expenses, billing and payment;
- The lawyer's hourly fee (if applicable); and
- An estimate of the lawyer's total fee.
After meeting with the lawyer ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be comfortable working closely with this person?
- Am I confident that the lawyer has the experience and skill to handle your case?
- Do I clearly understand the lawyer's explanation of what my case involves?
- Do I understand the proposed fee agreement?
How will I pay a lawyer?
This type of charge, sometimes called a standard fee, is used most often for routine legal matters. For example, a lawyer may charge all clients the same amount to handle a “simple will.” When you agree to a fixed fee, be sure you know what it does and does not include and if there could be additional charges.
Many lawyers charge by the hour and the hourly rate varies from lawyer to lawyer. Your total bill can be estimated by having the lawyer project the amount of time your case will take and provide a list of filing fees and other costs.
A retainer fee may be used to guarantee that a lawyer will be available to take a particular case and could mean that the lawyer would have to turn down other cases in order to remain available. With this type of fee agreement, you may be billed separately for the legal work that is done. A retainer fee sometimes is considered a down payment on any legal services you may need. Since this type of fee arrangement can mean different things, be sure to have the lawyer explain the fee arrangement.
This type of charge often is used in personal injury cases when you are suing someone for money. It means that you will pay your lawyer a certain percentage of the money you receive if you win the case or if you settle the matter. If you lose, your lawyer doesn't receive a fee. In some cases, your lawyer may pay some of these costs for you when they are due, but you may have to repay the lawyer.
If you agree to a contingency fee, be sure you know what your lawyer's percentage will be. Some agreements provide for a varying percentage depending on whether the case is settled, goes to trial or has to be appealed. If so, those varying percentages must be stated in the agreement as well. While obtaining a fee agreement from your lawyer is always a good idea, in contingency fee cases, they are required.
The cost of some probate and other legal work is set by law. For certain other legal problems, the court either sets or must approve the fee you will pay. Often, a lawyer cannot tell you exactly what the charge will be, because it is difficult to estimate how much work is going to be involved. But a lawyer can usually estimate the minimum and maximum limits of the fee and give you some idea of the work involved.
How can I help my lawyer and keep expenses down?
There are several steps you can follow to help your lawyer work for you and keep the cost of legal services at a minimum:
- Gather in advance all information that you think your lawyer may need;
- Carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your case: could court costs and legal fees be more than the amount of money you would likely recover?
- Write down the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all people involved in your matter
- Bring any written materials relating to your legal situation, such as receipts, contracts, medical bills, repair estimates, checks, traffic tickets, deeds, wills and letters from the opposing side to the first meeting with your lawyer;
- Ask if there are some aspects of the case that you can handle yourself (e.g., some telephone calls);
- Bring a written summary of the facts exactly as you remember them;
- Write down the questions that you want your lawyer to answer;
- Avoid calling your lawyer unnecessarily;
- Inform your lawyer of any changes to your address, telephone number and to any situation that may have a bearing on your case;
- Ask the lawyer about ways to resolve your case without going to court; and
- Reveal all information, even if it may not be in your favor.
Remember that your lawyer must keep all information you discuss confidential.
TopAttorneysTennessee.com CAN HELP YOU TO FIND THE RIGHT ATTORNEY.