Most Practical Advice from our Legal Professionals in 2012

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We launched the Legal Network just six months ago, but we have learned a great deal from our legal professionals in this short time. While we have focused on personal injury and real estate law, our network has also answered many general law questions that are very helpful in all legal situations.

To finish off 2012, we have compiled a list of our favorite tips from all our legal professionals have offered this year.

Real Estate Law

1) A real estate attorney can be of great use with complex real estate transactions. However, they are not always needed to complete a successful, hassle-free deal. Attorney Connie Carr explains further,

In a commercial real estate transaction, it’s best to involve an attorney from the beginning. If it’s a residential real estate transaction, and unique issues arise that make it advisable to involve an attorney, then do so before signing anything with the other party.”

2) There really are no guarantees in real estate, so it is imperative to get a thorough inspection and hire specialists if there are possible problems. According to realtor Jack McSweeney,

There is no such thing as a defect free property. During the inspection period in escrow it is imperative that inspections be conducted by qualified professionals. Sometimes the professionals find things out of their expertise and further inspections by more specialized inspectors should be ordered. Agents also have a responsibility to point out things they see, such as stains on the ceilings or puddles of water in the backyard, and get answers about why they have occurred.”

3) Although the frequency of foreclosures is decreasing, they still threaten many homeowners. Luckily, there are options to help you keep your home. Attorney Mark Mellor delves deeper into preventing foreclosures,

Loan Modification is the most well known way to stay in and keep your home if you get behind on payments. There are a number of programs depending on your lender and servicer that you may qualify for and also if Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae own your loan(s).”

General Law

4) Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but there are countless specialty lawyers who can help with your case. The key is to research their experience and to be certain that they have handled cases similar to yours in the past. In fact, attorney Diane L. Drain says,

In the field of law there are hundreds of “specialties”. Each field of law has sub-fields. Take the time to investigate the lawyers reputation, ask for client references, determine how long that lawyer has done the type of work you require, and ask the lawyer for a summary of their office procedures – how they return calls, answer correspondence, etc.”

5) When choosing an attorney to work with, many people also wonder if they should look for attorneys affiliated with small or large firms. Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer here. Small firms offer more of a personal experience and cheaper fees, but larger law firms generally have more resources at their fingertips. Attorney Neil F. Garfield, differentiates between firm sizes,

A small firm usually means more personal service, but some lawyers overload themselves and are more difficult to get on the phone than those at big firms.Also a small firm will usually charge a lot less, unless the small firm is the spinoff from a larger firm. Small firms have limited resources for investigations whereas large firms, while they charge for it, have trained investigators who dig for the information you need.”

6) Legal fees can quickly become a large expense. Paying more to work with an attorney does not mean you will win your case, but it does give the attorney a little more inspiration and resources to pull from. According to attorney Charles L. Gallagher,

More money does not ensure you will win, but it does ensure that your case will be well prepared and have the best possibility of success. If your attorney is more incentivized to prevail in this case, as opposed to others, due to the significant amount of legal fees, you have increased the odds that you will prevail.”

7) Social media has made it into virtually everyone’s lives. This is also true for attorneys. Attorneys must be careful to be vague about clients’ confidential case information on Facebook. But, even more importantly, if you are filing a case, make sure to not share information that could provide evidence against you. Attorney Paul Veravanich warns,

There are, however, potential pitfalls when firms and clients use social media. For clients in particular, there is a real danger of revealing information that will later prove damaging.”

Personal Injury Law

8) Class action lawsuits are effective when you have suffered the same wrongs as the rest of the class. But if you have suffered larger damages, it is more beneficial to file your own personal injury claim. Leighton Rockafellow explains the benefit of class action law suits,

Generally, class actions can be helpful in righting small wrongs done to many people.A good example is bank fees that may be outside of the banking agreement. It adds up to millions of dollars but no one plaintiff could afford to pursue an individual claim of $15 – $20.”

9) Personal Injury Law is so complex, there are numerous specialties. Your injuries should match the specialty of the lawyer you hire. Even more importantly, their experience should speak for itself. According to attorney Michele Colucci,

The type of injury you sustain determines which personal injury lawyer you should hire. Let’s be honest: you wouldn’t go to a foot doctor for heart surgery. So you have to match the specialization of the lawyer with the facts of your case.”

10) If you believe you have suffered medical malpractice, it is important to make sure you have a case before pursuing damages. Your treatment must breach the standard of care, and this mistreatment must have directly caused your injuries. In fact, Steven D. Pattee says,

A medical malpractice case can be intricate and difficult. In order to succeed, you must establish that there was a deviation from the standard of care in the community and that the deviation was a direct cause of any injury to you. In most cases, this is proven through the use of an expert witness hired to testify about the standard of care applicable, the deviation from that standard of care, and the harm the deviation caused.”

We look forward to learning more from our network members in 2013!