You don’t want to think about needing a criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately, sometimes, it is…
Deciding to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit in the court of law is a big decision that requires some serious thinking & contemplation. But, deciding on who will represent you as your attorney is just as important. When you experience problems in the workplace and need to retain an attorney, you may be on your way to interact with the legal system for the very first time in your life. So, it can be difficult to find the right employment attorney.
Here in this post, we will discuss six important things that you must consider when selecting an employment attorney.
- Relevant Experience in the Field
Since employment law is a niche field, be sure to find an attorney who is a specialist in the field. It pays to choose an attorney with sufficient experience and a proven track record in the field.
Depending upon the nature of claim you intend to file or the kind of legal advice you need, you may further narrow down your search for an attorney who specializes in workplace discrimination, wage & hour disputes, wrongful termination, severance disputes, employment agreement disputes, etc.
Employment lawyers can also be classified into two distinct categories – those who work on behalf of workers and others who work for employers.
If an attorney has experience in working on behalf of both employees and employers, he or she may have a better ability to examine the strengths and weaknesses of a case. But, this is not always the case.
Some attorneys dedicate themselves to either of the two categories and are good at what they do. So, choose wisely.
- Complimentary Initial Consultation
An established employment attorney or an employment law firm would most likely be willing to offer complimentary initial consultation. The attorney or someone from their team can sit down with you or have a phone call to discuss the best way they can assist you.
This also helps an attorney examine your unique situation and advise you on whether they feel you have a strong case. A face-to-face meeting, whether in-person or over a video call, can also help you gauge if an employment attorney has strong communication skills. After all, your employment attorney should be able to smartly present the legal basis of your case in a language that is easy to understand.
Consider the situation where you wish to make a claim for wrongful termination. You learn during the initial consultation that you don’t really have a case because you do not meet the eligibility criteria for such a claim. When such information is discovered early on, you don’t have to pay the attorney for drafting the application or filing the claim. This will help save both time and money.
Your employment attorney should be completely honest with you, particularly about the chances of success and various risks & costs involved in chasing the desired outcome.
If you find that an attorney presents you with a rosy picture without even examining your unique circumstances, consider it a red flag.
Yes, your attorney should passionately advocate on your behalf, whether you are negotiating with the other party (e.g. your employer or employee), filing/disputing the claim with a commission (e.g. Equal Opportunities Employment Commission in the United States).
But, your attorney should also offer realistic advice, strictly based on the merits of your case and the provisions of the law. An experienced and honest attorney would also be keen to keep your budget and specific goals in mind while offering you legal advice.
- Legal Fees
Always choose a lawyer who has a transparent fee structure. All financial matters should be set out in writing. All details, no matter how minute, should be brought to your attention by your lawyer or someone from their team during the initial consultation or before you sign on the dotted line.
A credible and experienced employment attorney will always set out the scope of work clearly so as to leave no room for ambiguities later on.
The fees attorneys charge depends on their professional experience and the volume of work they undertake on your behalf. Fees alone shouldn’t be the criteria for selection of an employment attorney.
- Availability of an Attorney
Individual attorneys & firms that sincerely care about their clients will provide prompt & responsive service. They should devote time and attention to each case they take up.
Yes, your case will not be only the file that a lawyer or a firm would be working on. An established attorney will always be working on multiple cases, but when required, they should make your case a priority.
An experienced lawyer with a professional approach to work will make it a point to schedule phone calls, meetings, etc., early on and provide you a timeline on how things will progress.
- Location of an Employment Attorney’s Office
It is advisable to hire a local employment law specialist. This way, you can easily meet them in-person, when required. This way, you can form a better working relationship with your attorney. A local employment attorney will also be able to better understand the unique details of the market you work (as an employee) or operate (as an employer) in.
Down the road, if you and your attorney decide to file a lawsuit, hiring a local attorney would help keep travel costs (for appearances in court) under control.