Where to begin?

If you have never worked with an attorney it may be hard to know where to start when you need to hire one. Understanding your legal situation is the critical to knowing where to begin. You can do this on your own to prepare for an attorney search.

Criminal vs. Civil Law

The justice system is divided into two main categories, criminal and civil.  The criminal justice system deals with cases where a crime was committed. The civil law grants citizens the right to bring a law suit against another person or, business or government agency to protect private rights and seek compensation is damage has occurred.

The Criminal Justice System

In the criminal system if you are accused of a crime you will need a defense lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer you will be assigned a public defender.  When hiring a lawyer, you should consider if your lawyer needs specialized knowledge based on the charges brought against you. For example, a defense lawyer, who has knowledge in environmental law, would be helpful if you or your business were charged with breaking environmental laws or regulations.  Matching charges with a lawyer’s background is a solid start to setting up any attorney initial consultations.

Civil Law

Civil law grants citizens the right to bring suit against another party to enforce, protect or redress private rights. We often think of civil actions as “law suits” brought to hold another party accountable and seeking monetary damages.  Civil lawyers come in a wide variety of backgrounds for example, first amendment law, family law, intellectual property law, tort defense (tort refers to a civil case). It is important when seeking out representation for a civil suit that you hire an attorney that matches your legal standing in the case, plaintiff vs. defendant. You should also consider how much experience any lawyer has in the specific area of law that your case highlights.

Why an Attorney?

Finally, attorneys can often help us with some of the biggest and most challenging moments of our lives. Marrying, buying a home, drawing-up durable powers of attorneys as well as creating wills, estates, and trusts are all part of a modern life. Each of us need to consider the complexity of our unique situation and decide when thoroughly drawn-up legal documents can help ensure that our rights and wishes are protected in our complex modern legal system.