There may be a time when you or a loved one needs to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer can be overwhelming and a little scary considering all the myths surrounding this industry. Let's debunk the most common myths about lawyers.
We've all heard the myths about lawyers being expensive and money hungry. Well, all of that is far from the truth. We care about justice and what's right, and yes, helping you win compensation to get your life back on track. It's not just about the money but what the money can help you do. Let's review some other myths about lawyers.
One of the worst myths about lawyers is that they are expensive. Lawyers aren’t only for the wealthy. Everyone has rights, no matter how much money they make. Attorney legal fees may vary depending on the case type and the client's financial resources. Some lawyers require:
Some lawyers, such as government attorneys and prosecutors, make the same salary whether they win or lose.
On the other hand, a personal injury lawyer is only paid if you win your case. There is no due payment upfront. They usually take a percentage of the total awarded. Additionally, most lawyers offer a free consultation. You can learn more about them and ask what they charge at that consultation before hiring them. At Mezrano Law Firm, we have contingency fees for our:
If you feel you may have a case, the lack of funds to hire a lawyer should never be a reason to keep you from contacting an attorney. In some cases where a fee is charged for representation, subsidized legal aid is available for lower incomes. Some attorneys also offer a sliding scale dependent on your income level. Always ask about their terms at your initial consultation.
Most states, including Alabama, have stringent ethics laws restricting lawyers from contacting injured people. Lawyers are not allowed to solicit an injured or vulnerable person. In these states, it is illegal for a lawyer to go to hospitals or courts looking for potential clients. The states also scrutinize referrals, meaning if someone gets in a car wreck and a specific attorney is recommended by a friend, that attorney is legally not allowed to contact that individual. The person who sustained the injury or was involved in the wreck must make the first contact to the lawyer.
People typically seek legal aid in a less-than-ideal situation, such as bankruptcy, divorce, or after a slip-and-fall accident. Yet, because a lawyer’s job can involve dealing with legal situations where other individuals or parties may be sued for large sums of money, many assume they are only interested in making a quick buck. This is far from the truth.
Much like a doctor is always there to help you when you’re sick, a lawyer is there to help when navigating a legal life trial. For example, a slip-and-fall attorney can help you if you’re dealing with a worker's compensation issue and must miss work for an extended period.
A bankruptcy lawyer can help you from losing your business or your home. A divorce lawyer can help you avoid a messy divorce, and a personal injury lawyer can help you with an accident in which you may have been hurt.
Lawyers will do everything they can to help clients navigate these situations.
Some people feel that suing another person is not polite or friendly, making them reluctant to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, you are not using the other person or suing their insurer. Handling the insurance company yourself in auto accidents can result in substantial repair costs or medical bills you will probably pay out of your pocket.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. When you try to file a claim against another insurance company, their job is to pay you as little as possible. Regardless of who was at fault or how much damage there was due to the accident, their goal is to lose very little or no money on your claim against them. When you hire an attorney to take on your case, he or she will handle the other individual's insurance company for you. Attorneys are experienced in all insurance companies tactics and will work for your best interests to ensure you receive fair compensation.
We’ve all seen the crazy ads on TV of lawyers “hunting” down the other guy to fight for you. Being confrontational is not the most essential trait for lawyers. A good lawyer is dedicated to learning the intricacies and quirks of the law, investigating their client’s case, and seeing the case through -- including going to court if necessary.
Lawyers do need to be eloquent and effective communicators. However, many cases never make it to court. They try to work with the opposing side to reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement. That saves court costs and can be far less stressful for their client and close the case faster. Much of the lawyer’s work will involve research, interviewing witnesses and experts, and building your case. A dedicated, knowledgeable lawyer will serve you better than a disagreeable one.
Many people think lawyers are dishonest and arrange secret deals with the prosecution. Although they work with prosecutors, judges, and police, gathering as much information as possible to build the case, resulting in the best possible outcome for their client. Plea bargaining may occur, but it is solely based on getting the client a quick and fair resolution.
You may only meet with your lawyer twice as he or she is working on your case. However, that doesn’t mean that they are not working for you. Much work and research behind the scenes go into preparing a case. Lawyers spend most of their time in the discovery stage of litigation, reviewing pleadings, drafting and answering discovery requests, and depositing when needed. These tasks take some time. Working with the opposing side to see if a settlement can be reached or preparing for trial can also extend the time for your case. However, having someone working for your best interests to bring justice to your situation is far better than trying to work through it alone. An attorney will always work hard to get you the most allowed for your case.
Every lawyer wants to win their case, but even the best lawyer cannot win every time. If an attorney makes that claim, beware. It could mean they only accept cases that are easy to win. They can be very skilled in their expertise and dedicate many hours to your case but still lose. No lawyer takes on a case expecting to lose. They all want to win.
To an attorney, every case is essential, as are the rights of their clients. They chose this profession: to help people know their rights, navigate the legal system, and get justice when needed. Especially when battling against corporations and insurance companies, everyone deserves the right to good legal representation and a chance for fair compensation.
Now that we've covered myths about lawyers, let's do some facts. We won't quiz you after this blog, but we find these facts interesting.
Simply put, all attorneys are lawyers, but not all are attorneys. A lawyer is a person who is educated and trained in law. He is qualified to give legal advice, though he does not necessarily practice in court. On the other hand, an attorney-at-law is a lawyer who practices in court. He has passed the bar exam and can defend or prosecute in court.
In Athens, the oration was a common practice for stating the case of someone before a council. The orator could be the accused or a friend who could speak on his behalf. Though accepting payment for their services was illegal, the law was often broken to obtain the best orator to defend their case.
Unlike Athens, which outlawed paid orator services, Rome's Emperor Claudius paved the way for private lawyer practice by legalizing the right of lawyers or advocates to charge a fee. It was also the beginning of regulating prices for lawyering services.
The school taught Roman law. Roman emperors supported the schools where they specialized in studying and perfecting law and rhetorical practice.
This includes four years of undergraduate and three years of law school. Anyone wanting to become an attorney must pass the bar exam to become licensed to practice law.
It is also the physical barrier in a courtroom. The bar separates the audience or spectators from the trial participants, such as lawyers and judges. The term bar originated from the medieval furniture piece in a European courtroom that serves the same purpose as its modern equivalent.
Although the profession was exclusive to only men at the time, Mansfield sued the state of Iowa to be able to take the exam. She passed the bar with top scores and pioneered the Iowa suffrage movement.
The famous composer of Swan Lake, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, graduated from the Imperial College of Law and worked for the Justice Ministry. Earlier in his career, he practiced both law and musical composition at the same time.
The Santon Bridge Inn in Cumbria, England, holds an annual competition for telling the best lies. The game is simple. Participants have five minutes to develop a lie, judged according to believability. However, the tongue-in-cheek competition has banned lawyers and politicians from participating because, jokingly, they feel they naturally have an edge in the competition.
In 1958, Dwight Eisenhower established it as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law. In 1961, Congress designated May 1 as the official date.