Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lawyers and Lawsuits

Sooner or later you will need the services of a lawyer and/or may be involved with a lawsuit. When that happens you need to understand more about the legal process, types of lawyers and legal jurisdiction to ensure that you obtain the best legal representation available. There are many different types of lawyers just like there are many different types of doctors. Legal matters can be serious and having the right type of lawyer can greatly influence the results that you obtain.

Some lawyers are general practitioners, and can handle routine and non-specialized legal matters. Other lawyers are more specialized and may work in only one or a handful of areas. A specialist has a deeper level of knowledge of the legal statues and case law within their area of specialty. You will usually pay a higher per hour fee to a specialized lawyer, but their expertise will often increase their efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you need a specialist will depend upon you facts and circumstances.

Legal Jurisdiction

In order to practice law, a lawyer needs to pass the bar exam and meet other state licensing requirements. Most lawyers are licensed to practice law in 1 or 2 states. This means that you will need to find a lawyer that is licensed in the state that has jurisdiction over you legal issue. This may or may not be an issue depending upon the law firm that you normally use. Small lawyers are usually licensed in 1 or 2 states. Larger law firms, who have partners licensed in multiple states or nationally may be able to practice law in any state. This is one advantage of using a large law firm. They usually have different departments specializing in different areas of law and have jurisdiction in more states. This means that one law firm can manage all of your legal issues.

Laws and legal rights are determined by the legal rules and regulations as well prior state legal cases. Since the rules and case history varies from state to state, your legal rights can vary significantly depending upon which state has jurisdiction. State licensing requirements ensure that you obtain proper legal counsel based upon the laws of that particular state. A lawyer licensed in New Jersey, may be very effective in his state but completely ineffective to represent you under California law. Legal jurisdiction rules are designed to safe-guard the interests of the consumer and also increase efficiency in the court system.

Types of Law

You only need to look at the yellow page ads to realize that there are numerous types of lawyers and areas of law. In non-routine legal matters, you will want to use a specialized lawyer to ensure that you obtain the highest quality of legal advice. Below are some common types of specialized lawyers:

1) mesothelioma lawyers;
2) divorce lawyers;
3) motor vehicle accident lawyers;
4) immigration lawyers;
5) family lawyers;
6) accident and personal injury lawyers;
7) asbestos lawyers;
8) business and corporate lawyers;
9) bankruptcy lawyers; and
10) employment lawyers.

Upon reviewing the list, it’s obvious that these areas of law are all very different. Divorce law and immigration law are two completely different fields and knowledge of one area will be useless to the other. If you were getting a divorce you would not want an immigration lawyer to represent you. Before hiring any attorney, make sure you know their areas of speciality and their background. Unfortunately, some general lawyers may not admit that they are not the best person to represent your interests in a particular matter.

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