Due to the size of the State of Indiana, Hoosiers are fortunate to have wide access to a pool of quality attorneys, dedicated judiciary, and a stable body of law. That said, the notion of the “family or personal” attorney has largely gone by the wayside with the complexity in law as we wrestle with technology driven world.
With this said, there are three key things to think about when you hire an attorney. The first is defining your legal need or objective. This may sound basic, but a car under the “Lemmon Law” may take an attorney who focuses his or her practice in this area to a contract attorney.
Thus, you should think through your legal matter and understand exactly what it is you want to accomplish when you speak with an attorney. In fact, many attorneys will encounter a client the first time that just starts spouting facts, only to be interrupted to be asked, “What are you trying to accomplish?” Knowing what you want will make an efficient and effective interface with an attorney.
Second, remember the time value of money or law and economics. Not every legal wrong or slight has a compensable aspect. In other words, understand if you are fighting a legal or non-legal battle. An overcharge of a few dollars may cost more to have an attorney handle than it is worth to spend, if you are trying merely to rectify the wrong. On the other hand, class actions and fighting on principle are valid legal reasons as long as you understand that you may spend more money than you recover.
Third, and perhaps most foreign to non-lawyers and those who do not engage in the legal system with any frequency is the American Rule.1 For the most part, in civil litigation (i.e., not criminal) each side pays their own attorneys fees. There are statutory exceptions, but fighting to correct a wrong may well cost you more in terms of legal fees than you recover.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. to aid legal consumers in understanding the legal system we all live in. We hope you find it helpful. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State.