Fort Wayne Law Firms

Fort Wayne Law Firms

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Fort Wayne Law Firms

A brief guide to Fort Wayne law firms

When seeking out private legal representation, many different factors need to be taken into consideration. Fort Wayne law firms vary in their size and practice areas, requiring any potential client to be clear on their needs and financial resources. Regardless of the particular circumstances of your case, here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to find an attorney.

Types of attorneys

Regardless of their size, Fort Wayne law firms are owned by partners. These are attorneys who possess a share of the business and divide the profits after salaried employees have been paid. Associates are attorneys who work for a fixed salary. Regardless of their position, Fort Wayne law firms generally employ two types of attorneys:

• Transactional lawyers review and draft legally binding paperwork.

• Litigation lawyers argue on behalf of clients in the courtroom.

Fort Wayne law firms can consist of just a few people or employ hundreds of people. Large businesses commonly employ paralegals, who perform paperwork tasks under the close supervision of a lawyer.

Criminal law

People who are charged with a criminal offense are entitled to have an attorney advise them throughout every step of the legal process. If you cannot afford the private services of a Fort Wayne law firm, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you for free. Adults of sound mind are never required to have an attorney represent them, nor are they required to follow any advice they receive. However, it is always wise to consult with a legal practitioner before making any decisions about how to proceed.

The first step in a criminal case is an arraignment hearing. In this initial court appearance, the prosecution will formally present the charges against you. At this time, you will have the option of pleading “guilty” or “no contest.” If the prosecution offers a plea bargain in exchange for this response, a Fort Wayne law firm attorney can help you evaluate whether it is in your best interests to accept their terms. If bail has been set, an attorney will try to have the amount lessened.

Defendants who decide to plead “not guilty” will have a trial date set. This does not mean you will necessarily have to appear in court. During the pretrial process, Fort Wayne law firms are required to regularly exchange any evidence they plan to present in court with the prosecution. While evaluating the strength of the case against you, they may discover procedural errors have been committed or conclude that no jury could reasonably be expected to convict. In this case, a Fort Wayne law firm may be able to have the charges against you dismissed.

A plea bargain may be negotiated at any time prior to a jury rendering a verdict. In the courtroom, a Fort Wayne law firm litigation attorney will present the strongest possible case on your behalf. Should you be found guilty, they will attend the sentencing hearing to argue for a lesser sentence than the prosecution requests. 

Civil law

The civil court system resolves disputes between two private individuals or businesses. No one is entitled to free legal counsel in these kinds of cases. You may decide to retain the services of a Fort Wayne law firm if you decide to file a lawsuit or are defending yourself against a complaint. Common causes of civil litigation include:

• Medical malpractice

• Landlord-tenant disputes

• Personal injury caused by another person or a defective product

• Workplace safety violations

• Underpayment of wages

Most litigation is resolved before the scheduled court date. Fort Wayne law firms representing both parties will conduct extensive negotiations throughout the pretrial process to try to draft a mutually acceptable financial settlement.

If there is a good chance that your litigation will result in a financial settlement, you may not have to pay for an attorney’s services. Some Fort Wayne law firms may agree to work on a commission basis, advancing part or all of the cost of going to court in return for a percentage of any financial award.

Divorce issues

When two spouses decide to separate temporarily or permanently, they can expedite the process by drawing up a mutually acceptable agreement detailing:

• All child custody and support arrangements

• Division of mutually owned property

• Payment of jointly incurred debts

• Alimony payments

In this case, the services of a Fort Wayne law firm will not be needed. A couple can easily create a legally binding document by themselves. However, if they cannot agree on the terms of their separation, it may be necessary to pay for mediation by a neutral third party. This mediator could be a lawyer working for a Fort Wayne law firm or a non-attorney specialist. Should negotiations not result in agreement, one or both spouses may decide to find and hire an attorney to have them represented in the court, which will substantially increase the expense of obtaining a divorce.

Finding a Fort Wayne law firm

No professional relationship should be rushed into. If you are thinking of finding a Fort Wayne law firm to represent you, think about what issues you hope to resolve through the legal process and how much time, energy and attention you can devote to it. Ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals to attorneys they have successfully worked with. Prior to scheduling meetings at any Fort Wayne law firms, look up the disciplinary record of the lawyer you will be consulting with to make sure they are in good legal standing.

Arrive prepared in order to get the most out of your initial consultation by having all relevant documents ready for an attorney to examine. You should be prepared to ask as many questions as you feel necessary to establish that a Fort Wayne law firm is trustworthy and competent to handle your kind of case. During this meeting, be sure to get a detailed, written estimate of the expenses you can reasonably expect to be liable for throughout the legal process.

 

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