Whether you’re an employer or an employee, a freelancer, entrepreneur or contractor, chances are that you will require the services or advice of an employment lawyer at some point over the course of your career. Due to the widely impactful nature of the topic, employment law is a subject that is likely to raise some strong opinions. The fact of the matter is that, like other types of law, a lot of people think they know more than they do about employment legislation, so it is important to take the time to find the right person to help you with your issues.
1. Marketing toward the public
Unlike some other types of law, employment lawyers market their services directly to the public, which means misleading advertising can have devastating effects. There are rules in place that are intended to protect individuals from profit driven attempts to take advantage of people in vulnerable situations, but they don’t always work.
Furthermore, due to the fact that a large percentage of the population has engaged with some type of employment law, you are likely to receive a wide range of opinions regarding your “rights,” especially if you have been fired or are looking to press charges against an employer or employee.
2. Rates should be reasonable, but nothing comes for free
Although it might seem appealing to reach out to a lawyer who is offering a free consultation, it is worth giving some thought to what the motivations behind this might be. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In order for a lawyer to take the steps necessary to properly assess whether or not you really have what you need to build a case, you have to pay for their time.
A “free” consultation might mean a sloppy overview, in which they are quick to determine that you certainly have a winning case. This is likely to be followed up swiftly with a substantial fee in order to begin legal action. If the lawyer misses something crucial off the top, you could end up paying much more to lose than to receive a proper initial consultation. Like anything else- if you want good advice, you should be prepared to pay for it.
3. Quality over quantity
The sad fact of any industry is that there are going to be individuals who try to manipulate the system in order to do minimum amount of work while receiving the maximum profit. Generally, you can spot a lawyer operating according to this system though. It is quicker to settle things without going to trial, so some lawyers will try to process as many cases as possible outside of court, regardless of how strong the evidence may be.
This type of behavior will earn them a reputation and the offers they receive will reflect the low level of respect they have in the community. Before hiring a workplace lawyer, ask him for his last five employment law court cases that were reported. If he can’t produce them, go elsewhere.
4. Check out their website
Generally, a lawyer’s online presence will give you a feel for the firm and provide you with access to some secondary testimony to decide whether or not they sound like they have experience in the area of employment law that you require services in. Ensure that the site is up to date and that they account for recent changes in the law.
5. Trust your instinct
If their online presence and recommendations seem legitimate, it is advisable to proceed with planning an in-person meeting and consultation. Be sure that you speak to the lawyer who will be working on your case and not a student or another junior member of staff within the firm. At this point, it is reasonable to request an estimated cost of pursuing your claim, the likely outcome, and what their suggested plan of action is.