When and Why to Retain a Lawyer

In many cases, a lawyer is only required for a single case, and the client may never speak to them again after the case is closed. However, there are certain circumstances in which you should consider retaining a lawyer.

What Does Retaining a Lawyer Mean?

When you choose to retain a lawyer, basically you are hiring them for a longer-term relationship than one or two appearances. This typically involves paying them a certain flat flee with the rest of their estimated fee for your job put into a trust fund to continue to pay their salaries during your case. Retaining a lawyer ensures that they will have steady employment from you, and that they will continue to work on your case for at least the amount of time the retainer can pay for.

When Should I Retain a Lawyer?

There are many situations in which retaining a lawyer can help your case a great deal. Generally, the more there is at stake the more important it is to find and retain a skilled lawyer to help you sort the situation out to a satisfactory end.

You should seriously find yourself a lawyer to retain if you:

  1. Have been charged with a felony or other serious criminal offense.
  2. Are being sued by someone.
  3. Are sueing someone.
  4. Are involved in a case that has to do with breech of business contracts.
  5. If you are adopting a child.
  6. If you are writing or altering a will.
  7. If you are involved in a career that frequently involves disputed claims, such as insurence.
  8. If your opponent in a case, no matter what type, also has a lawyer.

Things to Ask Before You Retain a Lawyer

Retaining a lawyer is a beneficial relationship for all involved — it provides you with a professional representative, law expert and researcher throughout your case, and it provides your lawyer with steady paid employment. However, even a great lawyer and a great client can sometimes make a disastrous combination.

To ensure that a lawyer is the right one for you, be sure to ask these important questions before you agree to retain them.

  • “How many years have you specialized in this kind of case?” If you are hiring a specialty lawyer for a particular type of case, the idea is to get somebody with enough experience to count. Look for someone with at least three to five years in their particular law specialty.
  • “What are the possible ways that this case could end if I choose to pursue it?” This might seem like a consultation type of question that you shouldn’t ask someone you haven’t even hired yet, but consider your side. If pursuing the issue will only result in situations you won’t be happy with, you may decide not to pursue it at all, and that means you don’t need to retain the lawyer.
  • “Do you charge by the hour or have a flat rate? How much is your rate?” A flat rate is preferable, because then you can be more certain of how much you’ll end up paying total. Hourly rates could balloon if the case ends up taking much more research than expected.
  • “How long do you estimate it will take to resolve this matter?” This is especially important to know if you want a swift conclusion to your case, or if you are paying at an hourly rate.

You might also want to ask the lawyer about how some of their past cases were solved, especially ones similar to yours, to see if their style matches your case. Above all, you want a lawyer who will work with you to resolve your legal matter the way you aim to resolve it.

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Why Specialty Lawyers Strengthen Your Case

Sometimes a case involves heavy research on a particular topic, or intricate and complicated terminology. Sometimes there’s just so much at stake that you need to be absolutely sure your lawyer understand the entire situation clearly so that they can work at full capacity. When you’re dealing with life-changing matters like keeping your home, child or citizenship, you need the best lawyer possible for your case. You need a specialty lawyer.

The Difference Between General Lawyers and Specialty Lawyers

Specialty lawyers are not superlawyers — general lawyers are still highly skilled professionals. However, if you have a specific kind of case, a lawyer with experience in cases just like it and expertise in the laws involved in such cases is clearly the better choice. Specialty lawyers choose a particular branch of law to specialize in, such as personal injury, fraud, or disputed insurance claims. They work only cases in their chosen specialized field, so they develop a lot of experience and skill at dealing with that particular kind of matter.

What a Specialty Lawyer Does For You

So, what does a specialty lawyer do for you that a general lawyer doesn’t? Well, it depends on their specialty! Different branches of law demand very different things from lawyers; yours might end up spending six hours per day researching in the library if they specialize in something like medical malpractice, or they could spend those same six hours talking on the telephone if they specialize in business contract breeches.

Whatever your specialty lawyer ends up spending most of their time doing, if they specialize in cases like yours then they will be doing the right thing. They’re professionals, after all — and that’s why you hire them instead of just any lawyer.