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Protecting Your Legal Rights

When you need to an attorney, how do you know which will best serve your interests — at a price you can afford? (And it’s not necessarily the guy with the ambulance-chaser commercials or the huge ad on the back of the phone book). Here are a few tips for choosing the right legal representation.

A Bit About Your Attorney’s Background

Checkmark-Iconhow long have you been in practice?

Xmark-Iconwhere did you go to school? is it a reputable and accredited law school?

Checkmark-Iconwhen and where did you pass the bar?

Xmark-Iconin which states are you currently certified to practice law?

Checkmark-Iconhave you ever had a complaint filed against you by a client?

Xmark-Iconyou can contact the American Bar Association to research credentials and any complaints

Ask Your Attorney Before You Meet

Checkmark-Iconwhat kind of law do you normally practice?

Xmark-Iconhave you dealt with this specific kind of case before? how many times?

Checkmark-Iconwould you handle my case personally, or someone else from your office?

Xmark-Iconwhat percentage of cases like mine have you won or settled in favor of your clients?

Checkmark-Iconcan you give me 5 references from previous clients that I may contact?

Xmark-Iconis there a fee for an initial in-person consultation?

At Your First Meeting

Checkmark-Iconwhat do you see as the strong points and weaknesses in my case?

Xmark-Iconwhat do you think the outcome of this suit will be?

Checkmark-Icondo you believe that we can settle out of court?

Xmark-Icondo you think that this case will go to trial?

Checkmark-Iconwhat could I stand to win or lose — monetary or otherwise?

Xmark-Iconhow long do you think this case will take, from start to finish?

Checkmark-Iconwill you consult me before making any important decisions on my case?

Xmark-Iconhow often will we be in touch throughout the process?

Charges For Services

Checkmark-Iconhow do you charge for your services — hourly, contingency, etc.?

Xmark-Iconwill you sign a written fee agreement before we begin my case?

Checkmark-Icondo you expect an up-front retainer to start this case? how much?

Xmark-Iconwhat do you estimate my total cost to be?

Checkmark-Iconwhen do you expect payment — increments, at the end of the case, etc.?

Xmark-Iconwill I get itemized billing throughout the process or at the end of the case?

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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