Archive for February, 2012
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Frivolous Lawsuits
There has been a lot more attention recently to lawsuits and politicians claim that there is an epidemic of frivolous ones. It seems like everyone out for a quick buck will sue any other person or company in order to strike it rich. People are getting millions of dollars for spilling coffee on their own laps; or stepping in a pothole and suing the city. Those things sound like something that has gone wrong in the American legal system, and that view would be correct if the cases were true says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. There are bits of information that people miss when a case comes out. Saying that someone got millions of dollars for an injury caused by their own carelessness sounds bad but the truth is that it does not happen.
Hot Coffee Cases
If you ask people about frivolous lawsuits the first case that comes to mind is usually the one of a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and got millions of dollars in one of the largest paydays in lawsuit history explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If your blood is boiling hotter than the coffee that fell on her lap it should be, because someone has given you all the wrong information. The case involved a woman that got third degree burns because the coffee was a lot hotter than it usually is. The coffee had reached a temperature of 185 degrees, in comparison the coffee from your coffee maker at home comes out at an average temperature of 135. She offered to settle with the company for 20,000 which the company refused. The money was used for skin grafts which are not cheap. She also did not get millions of dollars, her final amount was 640,000. Another Coffee Case: In 1992, a seventy-nine year old Albuquerque woman (Stella Liebeck) bought a coffee from a McDonald’s drive through. Her grandson was driving and he parked the car so she could add cream and sugar to the drink. She put the cup between her knees and pulled the lid toward her – inevitably the coffee spilt in her lap. She sued McDonald’s for negligence because she claimed the coffee was too hot to be safe. After trial to a jury of twelve citizens, they awarded Ms. Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages, but reduced it to $160,000 because they found her 20 percent at fault for the spill. The jury also awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages, equal to two days of McDonald’s coffee sales. This was eventually reduced to $480,000, even though the judge called McDonald’s conduct reckless, callous, and willful. Jurors expressed similar sentiments in interviews after the trial. Ms. Liebeck and McDonald’s eventually reached a confidential post-verdict settlement. So, what about the infamous McDonald’s coffee case – the one that kicked it all off? We all know that coffee is hot, that’s not in question. What most people don’t know is that McDonald’s was serving their coffee at about 180-190 degrees, hot enough to cause third degree burns in mere seconds. After 700 claims for serious injuries caused by their coffee, they continued to serve it at that temperature.
The problem with making conclusions based on the little bits of information received is that there is a large amount of information that is missing. There is also the problem that some people will make exaggerated claims to make their point. These claims are taken as facts by some people and before you know it there is a whole new myth circulating on the internet. The jury awarded the amount because they had all the information required to reach that decision states Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. The company that was sued in that particular case also had a chance to accept wrong doing and settle for a much lower amount, they chose not to. A basic principle of the negligence system is that each of us has an obligation to protect, not only ourselves, but other people when we can take reasonable steps to do so. That principle makes both moral and economic sense.
It Is Your Right
A weak lawsuit is not necessarily a “frivolous” one. Frivolous lawsuits are typically cases that have no legitimate factual or legal support and are not even based on a good faith argument for the extension or reversal of existing law. Frivolous lawsuits are sometimes brought for an improper purpose, such as to harass someone. Examples of lawsuits deemed frivolous are those sometimes brought by people against the government claiming that the government has no legal authority to assess and collect taxes. “Frivolous” is not always used to describe baseless lawsuits. The term “frivolous” is occasionally used to describe equally baseless defenses that are sometimes asserted in defense of valid litigation.As long as there is money involved, people and companies that may have something to lose will lobby to take away an individual’s right to be compensated by another’s wrong doing. But you have to understand that there is a lot of information that goes into these cases and when you get a one minute report or editorial on TV you are not getting the full story. The cases can go for hours, days, weeks and sometimes even months. The people who get all the details in the case make a determination that a person or a company was at fault. They do not do this lightly and their service is important. You should never believe that your case is frivolous explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If you have been injured because of the fault of someone else you should contact a lawyer.
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Frivolous Lawsuits
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs How Much Will It Cost To Hire A Lawyer?
The cost of an attorney can vary substantially. Some types of cases are more costly to litigate than others. For example, hiring a lawyer to fight a traffic ticket will cost a lot less than hiring a lawyer to fight a felony criminal charge. Also, different lawyers charge different rates. It is not always true that the best lawyer costs the most, but the best lawyers usually do not charge the lowest rates. If you have legal concerns or troubles you want to be able to hire the best lawyer that you can possibly get. In order to do that you should be familiar with the different charges that you are likely to pay with a lawyer that is not provided by the state explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Keep in mind that the amount that a lawyer will charge may seem high but once you look at the details you’ll understand the reasoning. Simply knowing how their pay structure works will go a long way to making sure that you choose a lawyer that meets your needs. Though the fees may seem high, many lawyers will allow you to make payments to meet their financial requirements. Make sure that you have all the information before you decide to hire or pass on an attorney. It should be noted that “pro bono” is an abbreviation for “pro bono publico,” meaning “for the public good.” Most attorneys periodically take cases on a “pro bono” or “no fee” basis. This is usually done where the case is of particular interest to the attorney, and the issue involved in the case is significant to the public interest. Please note that attorneys receive many requests for pro bono work, and can at best take only a few of those cases.
This structure means that the lawyer (and you) will keep track of the number of hours that they have worked on your particular case. The bill will then be issued by charging you an hourly rate which was previously agreed to by both parties. Keep in mind that the hourly rate can be very different depending on your location. You can expect the rates to go from 100 dollars an hour for a lawyer in a small town but they can be as high as 400 per hour in major cities and their surroundings say Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If your case does not require many hours of work then this pay structure would be advisable for you. Make sure to ask about other fees that may be involved. Don’t be afraid to offer a lower hourly rate. Negotiate, although please be aware that good attorneys tend to have the opportunity to take more work than they can handle, and thus may not be willing to reduce their fees. You can also challenge how you will be billed; if the lawyer bills in 15 minute increments, you can ask to be billed in 5 minute increments.
Some attorneys will prefer to charge you a flat fee for their services. The good thing about a flat fee is that there are no surprises. The flat fee can also save the client a lot of money if the legal issues are something that will take a lot of the attorney’s time. A lump sum payment means that no matter how much time your lawyer works your case you will not pay any additional money. A person who expects to be involved in a legal battle that will take a lot of time should look for a lawyer that charges a flat fee. The structure is beneficial to both the attorney and the client states Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. At times, you may wish to negotiate a “flat fee.” The purpose of a flat fee is not to save money — most “flat fee” arrangements will end up costing you more than an hourly agreement. The purpose is to provide peace of mind.
We are seeing more and more attorneys using this type of payment structure especially in cases of lawsuits where a payment is not made unless there is a certain outcome to the case. If the outcome that is agreed upon is reached then the lawyer will charge for the services the agreed amount. You may have heard of lawyers that do not charge unless they win the case and that is a type of contingency payment. There are benefits and disadvantages to this type of payment structure. The good thing is that you do not have any payments up front. This is particularly nice for someone having a hard time coming up with the money for a lawyer that can make a big difference. The negative is that the lawyer will take up to a third of the settlement as a payment which could be a much higher payment than the previous two options explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Please note that there are legal costs involved in litigation, and that ordinarily you will be required to repay those costs even if you lose. Almost every state limits contingent fees for personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. If your case is potentially worth a lot of money, you may be able to negotiate a reduction of the attorney’s contingent fee — however, the best personal injury attorneys are sometimes able to recover substantially more money for their clients than attorneys with lesser skills, resulting in a greater award to you regardless of the percentage taken by the attorney.
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs How Much Will It Cost To Hire A Lawyer?
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Hiring a Lawyer on a Retainer
Lawyers can be expensive, and, in some instances, you may be able to get a lawyer on a retainer fee. A retainer fee is a guarantee that the lawyer will be available to work solely on your case as the need arises. In other words, the lawyer will be on call for you and will be required to turn down other cases as the situation warrants. When you find a lawyer you may need that professional to be on call to work your case or issue exclusively. You should look for a lawyer who has previous experience or is specialized on the type of issue that you need help with says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. That is the easy part because you can get that information from different websites and your state’s bar. So finding the lawyer is always step one, but depending on your issue you may need them to be ready or on call. When that is the case you should try to get the lawyer on a retainer fee. The retainer fee means that the lawyer will always be available for you. That means that other cases will be turned down to give your case priority.
Find a Top Lawyer
First and foremost you should make sure that the lawyer has a proven track record on the type of case or legal issue that you need. Find a lawyer who has experience in the type of law that you need. Many different types of law are practiced, such as elder law, criminal defense, immigration defense, personal injury and contract law. The individual that you plan on retaining should have a proven track record. Most often, however, criminal cases and civil cases are the two areas in which lawyers will work on retainer. That information will be the most important thing that you can find out. Check out their track record with cases that are similar to yours. If there is no track record then you should not pay them a retainer fee. New lawyers may understand some of the latest changes and different tactics where an older lawyer may offer years of experience. There is a chance that they will be a brilliant lawyer in either case. Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs says part of the research should also include a confirmation that the lawyer is a member of the state’s bar association. If they are not, stay away or better yet report them. Determine if that lawyer is a current member of your state’s bar association. This is achieved by contacting your state’s bar. If he or she is not a member, then report them for the unauthorized practice of law.
Contact the Lawyer
When you have made up your mind about the lawyer that you want to represent you, make an appointment for more information. During this appointment you will find a lot more information on what their schedule looks like as well as fees for services. Check for the firm’s policies regarding retainer fees, because not all types of law will require a retainer fee states Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. The reason that is important is because you need to know the way a retainer fee is paid. Sometimes you will be paying the retainer fee up front as a sort of down payment. Other times the retainer fee will cover some of the services that you need. That means that it may also work as a payment for the lawyer’s time. Contact the lawyer you want to retain and inquire about their fee schedules. Ask him or her what the firm’s explicit retainer policy is. In some instances, certain types of legal services are covered under the retainer fee, or the retainer fee acts as a down payment towards your case. If this is the situation, your legal fees will be subtracted from the retainer and you will be required to make another payment at that point.
Once you retain a lawyer, no one else can represent you unless you fire your current counsel and hire another attorney. Once the decision has been made to hire the lawyer on a retainer fee you will be asked to fill out some paper work and forms in order to complete the process. When you have completed the forms you will then be required to pay the retainer fee. Most lawyers will allow you to pay the retainer fee in several forms of payment. The usual forms of payment for lawyers are cash, credit cards or checks. You may think that the retainer fee is unnecessary, but it is a huge advantage to you as a client to hire a lawyer on a retainer. That means that all their attention will be placed on your case or legal issue explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. The expenses that are used to calculate a retainer fee are usually based on the circumstances at that time. The lawyer should be able to give you an idea of what to expect. For example, if your case is filed with the court, you must pay court costs to file the case. You may also be expected to pay the costs for depositions, expert witnesses, long distance telephone charges made by your lawyer on your case, copying charges, courier and postal services, etc. Hiring a lawyer on a retainer fee is more costly than him or her working for you on a standard, hourly or contingency rate. Bear this in mind before retaining an attorney.
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Hiring a Lawyer on a Retainer
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs The Road to a Law Degree
If you are thinking of a career in law- congratulations! It is a rewarding career but also one that is full of responsibility and challenges. In many cases an attorney is responsible for his or her client’s livelihood so the decision should not be taken lightly. Because of the amount of responsibility the road to a law degree is not easy. The requirements are rigorous and you should really be ready to give your training every bit of effort because a lot of your early career will mostly depend on it says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. This is not to discourage you from obtaining a law degree, but rather to prepare you to what is ahead in this career path which is full of challenges and full of rewards.
As an undergraduate student you would do well in taking pre-law courses to prepare you for what is ahead. These courses will give you a better understanding of the career and things you are expected to know. They will also prepare you for the Law School Administrative Test or LSAT. As you may already know every law program in the country requires students to pass this test. You should not wait until your senior year to take the LSAT in fact most people should take it in their junior year of undergraduate school. You should also find out the requirements of different law schools you are thinking about. The things that schools generally will ask for is a transcript, personal essay, LSAT score and some letters of recommendation. You should do as well as possible in undergraduate school, because acceptance into the best law schools is as competitive as it gets. Once you have graduated from undergraduate school, you no longer have the leverage of improving your grades explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If your overall cumulative Undergrad Grade Point Average (UGPA) does not appear competitive with the UGPA range that law schools publish, but your last grading periods are strong and above average, focus on your strengths. Make the argument that your last grading periods are more reflective of your ability to succeed in an academic setting than your earlier grading periods. Although one miserable semester may play havoc on your overall GPA, you need to advocate for yourself and to inform the law schools where you have improved and why. Individuals who have been out of undergraduate school for a number of years may be able to take a course or two on the Master’s level. In this way, you can put yourself back into a classroom setting, discipline yourself to a student’s schedule, try to ace those grades (no B nor C grades, please), and be able to get an academic letter of recommendation from your professor.
Graduate Law School
A law school program will generally last about three years. The first half of your program will include most of the classroom hours says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. You will study a lot of the things that the average person needs lawyers for; that includes contracts, constitutional law, legal writing and procedures. The second half is when you choose what type of law you will specialize in. The different types of specializations include family law, tax, labor, international, criminal law and others. You should think about your path before you get to the moment when you need to choose, but chances are that before you apply to a law school you will already have an idea of the type of law you want to pursue. After years in the industry, education professionals may recognize a need for greater understanding of Education Law. In response, Nova Southeastern University developed and ABA approved Masters program in Education Law for non-lawyers. These Masters of Science in Education Law programs do not require passage of the Law School Admission Test, however, they may require taking the Graduate Record Examinations.
You have the education, the ability and the ambition. Now all you need is work experience. As law firms and corporate legal departments cut costs and operate with leaner staff, more legal employers seek candidates who can hit the ground running. So, how can you gain work experience if no one will give you a chance? Make sure that you get some experience while you are in law school, because this is the best time to do it. Contract jobs are a great way to gain work experience in the legal field. As law firms and corporate legal departments seek ways to reduce litigation costs, contract employees have become a hot commodity in today’s legal market explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Temporary employment is another method of gaining valuable work experience. Even if the firm of your dreams won’t hire you as an attorney, many law firms have a host of other high-turnover positions which they must continually fill. Internship and externship positions can be found in law firms, corporations, banks, insurance companies, non-profit organizations, the government and other businesses. These positions are usually unpaid, although sometimes you can earn school credit. Internships are frequently not advertised and you may have to do a little digging to locate one. Your local law school, paralegal school or legal secretarial program’s career service office is one of the best sources for locating an internship. Many non-profits, public interest organizations, legal clinics and legal aid offices are desperate for volunteers. Although unpaid, volunteering is a great way to obtain quality legal work experience. Public interest organizations will not assign meaningless busywork but will instead give you substantive, meaningful tasks that make a difference in the lives of people and the community.
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs The Road to a Law Degree
Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Gives Expert Advice On Selecting A Divorce Lawyer
Choosing the right lawyer to handle your divorce case can be one of the most important decisions you will ever need to make. Selecting a lawyer is a big step and more than a little intimidating. Whether you go with a family friend, a coworker’s recommendation or a lawyer online or in a directory, there are a few things you should know. Choosing a lawyer will have a huge impact on future protection of your interests. It is therefore important that you choose your lawyer correctly, and that you take your time to make sure that you made the right decision says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Some of your time should be allocated to finding the right lawyer. That means that you should be doing some research to make sure that the lawyer is the one that will best represent you. Appointments are a great tool and you should ask plenty of questions here because lawyers will be very upfront with their potential clients. The reason for this is their livelihood depends on the reputation what he or she has. If they feel that they are not the best for the job they will let you know and may even refer you to one of their colleagues that may be better suited to meet your needs.
Recommendations for divorce lawyers can come from many sources. Therapists and counselors may have a list of divorce lawyers to recommend to you. Friends, who have been through a divorce and were happy with the quality of legal representation they received, can often be your best source of referrals. Look to any lawyers you have hired in the past to recommend colleagues who practice family law. Many state bar associations have lawyer referral services. It is best not to choose a lawyer based solely on being listed with this type of service. Most of these services are open to any licensed attorney who pays a listing fee. However, if an attorney listed is licensed as a specialist in family law, this is much more of a positive recommendation. Depending on your state, the family law specialty may be called Family Law, Domestic Law, Matrimonial Law, or Divorce Law. All states that issue specialty licenses have strict requirements to qualify for the designation says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Ask for a list of these specialists. If you know people that have needed similar services in the past you should ask them about their experience. Part of what we mentioned before is the reputation and reputation is built through people like you. The best lawyers have a lot of people willing to say how good and effective they were to their particular situation. Your state’s bar association is another great way to find a lawyer that specializes in cases like yours as well as the lawyer’s standing with them. An internet search will help but you should always check their standing before you settle on a particular lawyer.
Whatever you have been told about the talents of a particular lawyer, make sure to have a consultation with the lawyer before deciding to use his or her services explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. A positive recommendation is not enough to decide whether a lawyer is right for you. It is very important for you to feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose. Sometimes personalities and styles just do not click. You will have to tell this person the most intimate details of your personal life. It is absolutely imperative for you to feel as comfortable as possible doing so. Once you have a list of possible candidates to handle your case you should make an appointment to visit them at their office. Some lawyers will make themselves available to come to you the first visit, but it is a better idea for you to go to them. The reason that is better is that you can examine the office and you will also be able to tell how easily it is to meet an attorney once you have hired them. You will most likely get a first meeting without any charges because most lawyers have that as an incentive to meet new potential clients. This meeting is very important because it allows you to ask tough questions and to get a feel for their style.
More Information About Them
Another good idea is to call your local courthouse and find out which judges preside over divorces. Take some time to sit in the courtroom and watch the lawyers in action. If you find some who impress you, find out their names. The clerk or bailiff should be able to help you with this information. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered when choosing a lawyer says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. The main questions that you should ask are about their experience, background, retainer fee and cases similar to yours that the lawyer may have handled. You can also find the average hourly rate of attorneys in your state by going to the state’s bar. Finally check the state’s agency for any complaints that the attorney may have against them. Choosing the right lawyer is like putting together a puzzle. It is not the easiest thing to do, but once the puzzle is complete you will have a better understanding of the whole picture. Make an educated decision and you will have the best representation that you could ask for. A lawyer who practices general law may be qualified to represent you during your divorce if he or she has kept abreast of current family law developments either through continuing education or actually handling divorce cases. When complex issues, such as large sums of money, business enterprises, real estate, or custody are involved, it is best to choose a lawyer who concentrates most of his or her practice in the area of family law.