Durham Law Firms

Durham Law Firms

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Durham Law Firms

A brief guide to Durham law firms

Whether trying to ensure that you never end up in court or defending yourself against charges, there are many circumstances under which it may be advisable to find private legal representation. Regardless of the circumstances, it is possible to find a Durham law firm with specialized knowledge that can represent you. Though every case is different, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when seeking legal counsel.

The structure of Durham law firms

Some people who need a lawyer may retain someone who works by themselves, known as a “solo practitioner.” However, in many cases you will be represented by a member of a Durham law firm. Most firms employ two types of attorneys:

• Litigation lawyers appear in court to represent a client.

• Transactional lawyers concern themselves with reviewing, maintaining and creating legally binding paperwork.

Regardless of what kind of lawyer they are, Durham law firms are divided between:

• “Partners,” lawyers who own shares of the business and divide the profits that remain after their salaried employees have been paid

• “Associates,” or lawyers who work for a salary

Criminal court

There are three types of criminal violations that may require you to appear in court:

• Infractions are minor offenses such as receiving a speeding ticket

• Misdemeanors are more serious transgressions such as assault or robbery

• Felonies are the most serious types of crimes, such as rape or murder

If you are charged with an infraction, you are not entitled to legal counsel or at trial by jury. However, misdemeanors threaten your financial health with large fines and your liberty with potential jail time. Defendants in these kinds of cases are entitled to legal representation even if they cannot afford to pay for the services of a Durham law firm. In this event, a judge will appoint an attorney to offer free advice and representation throughout the steps of the legal process:

• At an arraignment hearing, charges will formally be presented. The prosecutor may choose to offer a plea bargain in return for a plea of “guilty” or “no contest.” A member of a Durham law firm can help you decide whether it is in your best interests to accept this offer.

• Throughout the pretrial phase, Durham law firms will exchange all evidence with the prosecution. After evaluating the case against you, an attorney may discover that some evidence has been improperly collected and file a motion to dismiss the charges against you. Durham law firms will also help ensure no biased jurors are empanelled during the jury selection process.

• If the prosecution agrees to negotiations, a plea bargain may be created by both sides and submitted to a judge for approval at any time before a verdict is issued.

• In court, a litigation attorney from a Durham law firm will argue the strongest possible case on your behalf.

• If you are found guilty, an attorney will attend your sentencing hearing to make the case for a sentence less severe than requested by the prosecution.

Defendants of sound mind may choose to represent themselves or disregard the advice of a Durham law firm. However, it is always important to at least consult with an attorney before making any decisions on how to defend yourself.

Civil court

When two private parties have a dispute, a person or business may choose to pursue civil litigation with the goal of receiving financial compensation for issues such as:

• Sexual harassment

• Underpayment of wages

• Landlord-tenant disputes

• Violations of a contract with another business

Nearly all civil litigation is resolved out of the courtroom. Durham law firms representing both parties will negotiate extensively prior to the scheduled court date to create a mutually acceptable settlement agreement.

Family court

Family courts help resolve domestic disputes. One of their primary tasks is to finalize divorces. It is not necessary to hire a Durham law firm if two spouses are capable of coming to terms to reach an agreement on how to handle issues such as:

• Alimony payments

• Child custody arrangements

• Child support payments

• Who will be responsible for making major medical decisions on a child’s behalf

• Visitation rights for the non-custodial parent

If a couple agrees on the importance of preparing a separation agreement for a judge’s approval but cannot resolve all these potential areas of dispute, they may decide to share the cost of professional mediation. Should these negotiations fail to produce a mutually acceptable document, one or both spouses may decide to retain the services of a Durham law firm.

Hiring an attorney

No professional relationship should begin in haste. If you are thinking of consulting a Durham law firm, ask yourself:

• What kind of specialized assistance do I need?

• How much can I afford to pay a Durham law firm?

• How much time, energy and attention am I prepared to commit to the legal process?

Once you know what you are doing, ask friends, relatives and co-workers to refer you to any Durham law firms they have successfully worked with. It may be necessary to meet with several attorneys before you find someone you trust to represent you. Prior to attending a meeting at any Durham law firms, examine the disciplinary record of any attorney you will be speaking to to make sure they are in good legal standing.

To obtain the maximum benefit from any consultation, prepare all documents that are relevant to your case. After examining these, an attorney will need to ask you many follow-up questions to better understand your situation. Answer any queries in as much detail as you are capable of without withholding any information you fear may damage your case. In turn, ask as many questions as you feel necessary to establish the level of specialized experience a Durham law firm.

At any first meeting, make sure to receive a detailed, written estimate of all expenses you can reasonably expect to be liable for as a result of the legal process.

 

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