Law Firm Southern California

Law Firm Southern California

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Law Firm Southern California

A brief guide to law firms in Southern California

When it is necessary to obtain legal advice, it is important to be well-informed about the process you are undertaking. A law firm in Southern California may specialize in many different areas of practice or specialize in one field. No two cases are alike, and no lawyer is equally adept at practicing all aspects of the law. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind if you are seeking out a law firm in southern California.

When to find a lawyer

If you are a business owner, it makes sense to retain the services of an attorney on a regular basis. Litigation lawyers specialize in reviewing documents such as:

• Employer-employee contracts

• Contracts between two services

• Employee handbooks

Additionally, anyone who is undertaking a real estate transaction will want to consider contacting a law firm in southern California to review paperwork such as:

• Contracts relating to the sale of property

• Mortgage agreements

• Rent or lease contracts

A lawyer can ensure that you are not committing to any financial agreement you cannot honor and that you are not exposing yourself to the risk of future litigation. 

Otherwise, most people will begin thinking about finding a law firm in southern California to represent them when they must go to court, either to face or press charges. There are two kinds of court systems that deal with violations of the law:

• Criminal courts process cases in which an individual or business is charged with a crime by the police or a government agency. If found guilty, the defendant may receive a large fine, jail time or be sentenced to death.

• Civil courts deal with litigation between two private individuals. These lawsuits seek financial compensation rather than someone’s incarceration.

If you are charged with a crime, you are entitled to legal representation. Should you not be able to afford the private services of a law firm in southern California, the court will appoint an attorney to advise you for free. There are many steps a lawyer can help throughout the legal process to help you:

• During an arraignment hearing, after the prosecution details the charges against you, you may be offered a plea bargain. An attorney can help advise you whether accepting their offer is in your best interests.

• In the pretrial process, both sides are required to regularly exchange any evidence they plan to present in court. While acting on your behalf, a law firm in southern California may discover procedural errors committed by the police in the process of accumulating evidence. This can be grounds to dismiss the charges against you.

• In court, a lawyer will present the strongest possible case on your behalf. Should you be found guilty, they will be present to argue that mitigating circumstances justify a less severe sentence than requested by the prosecution.

If you are not satisfied with your pro bono counsel, you may wish to contact a law firm in southern California that can offer private representation. While this may add a significant expense to the legal process, the more serious the charges against the more important it may be to consider this option.

Civil litigation is the result of a two dispute between two individuals or private entities. It can be pursued by:

• Someone who has been injured by a defective product or as the result of another person’s accident

• Someone who has been the victim of medical malpractice

• Employers and employees in disagreement over the terms of their contract 

• Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace

The vast majority of civil lawsuits are settled before they reach the courtroom. Unless instructed otherwise, any law firm in southern California you retain will negotiate extensively with the other party’s attorneys in the hopes of obtaining a mutually acceptable out-of-court settlement. Unlike criminal charges, you are not entitled to free legal counsel if you learn that you are facing civil litigation. You will have to either pay for the services of a law firm in southern California or represent yourself in court.

Other legal procedures

In some circumstances, you may be able to complete a legal action without consulting an attorney. For example, if a couple agrees to divorce, they can collaborate in creating a written document detailing how they will handle such issues as:

• Division of jointly acquired property

• Payment of jointly incurred debts

• Child custody arrangements

• Visitation rights

• Alimony payments

If two spouses can complete this procedure themselves, there will be no need for either partner to contact a law firm in southern California.

Filing for bankruptcy is a highly technical process in which the courts allow little room for error. It is highly advisable to retain the services of a law firm in southern California if you decide to take this step. 

Finding a lawyer

No professional relationship should be rushed to. This is especially true when it comes to finding a law firm in southern California you feel comfortable hiring to retain you. The most reliable legal referrals will come from friends, family and co-workers. If you cannot obtain a recommendation this way, local lawyer referral services certified by the California State Bar can help you find an attorney. Prior to scheduling any first meeting, be sure to look up the disciplinary record of any lawyer you are thinking of hiring and make sure they have not been cited for any ethical violations.

It may be necessary to schedule meetings before you find a law firm in southern California that is a good fit for your needs. Arrive with all the documentation that may be relevant to your case and be prepared to answer an attorney’s questions in as much detail as possible. During your first meeting, be sure to obtain a detailed, written estimate of what you can expect to pay, as well as a proposed timeline for your case.

 

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