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Old 10-06-2009, 07:54 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,425 times
Reputation: 10

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I have recently hired a lawyer under the name Paula E. Meyer in orange CA, she says i have a case for my real estate property but i think she might just saying that in order to get my money from processing fees and misc. costs. Has anyone ever worked with her before with comments on her practice???
P.S. i dont want to end up with a $30,000 fee with no judgment!
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,540 posts, read 14,867,998 times
Reputation: 4625
Didn't you ask for references?
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:20 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,425 times
Reputation: 10
A friend referred me to her and i assumed her had worked with her before but he has not...i know i know...idiot!
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:23 PM
 
3,441 posts, read 4,984,719 times
Reputation: 2315
In my opinion many lawyers/attorneys are shady, I would seriously do your homework.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:54 PM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,587 posts, read 20,178,733 times
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See if she'll accept a contingency agreement. That separates the wheat from the chaff.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,799,789 times
Reputation: 11808
It is difficult to figure out whether an attoreny is good or not. I am a parcticing attoreny and I cannot always tell for a while.

Things that you can look at include the following, but these are nto determinative factors:

State Bar records of complaints or discipline. Discipline is very rare, if they have a disciplinary record go elsewhere.

References. Other lawyers or judges who practice in the same field are better references than former clients. Clients tend to be results oriented. A lawyer can do a bad job and still win and the client will thnk that they are great. A lawyer can do a good job and lose and the client will think that they are terrible.

Martindale Hubble (available online). They rate lawyers through a peer review rating. They poll other lawyers and judges when you reach a certain experience level and see what they thinnk of you. The highest rating is AV 5.0. It is nto easy to get this rating, but it does nto necessarily mean that they are a good lawyer, however it may give you some insight. Many lawyers have no rating. That means either they are not sufficiently experienced, not sufficiently well known to get any surveys back, or possibly that they were nto well reviewed. It can also mean that they just have not been rated yet.

Law School graduation. You do nto want someone with less than 5 years of experience. No exceptions there in my mind. I will usually not hire anyone with less than 3-5 years expereince and then I anticiapte that they will work under my strict supervision for at least a year before they handle cases on their own.

Law school attended. This does nto mean a whole lot. If they atteneded a really good school, they are probably pretty smart and hard working. If they attended a bad law school they may be less smart, andor less hard working but they also may be someone who does nto take tests well or who did not know better. The most productive lower tier law school is Western State. They produce a lot of mediochre and bad lawyers every year and a few good or execellent ones. You can get law school rankings online. If they did not go to a top quartile law school, there might be a reason. Howevr this is by no means a determining factor. Some of the best lawyers that I know went to law schools that are in the bottom half of the rankings. The extreme top and extreme bottom law schools may be a reflection on the lawyers abiltities or character for hard work. When you get itno the middle, there really is not all that much diffrence. Western State, Hollywood Law School, and a lot of places that you have never hear of may be a bad sign. However if you are looking at someone who went to Havard, Yale, Michigan, Berkley Boalt Hall, or Stanford, you can feel pretty comfortable that you are dealinig with a smart person who is well trained and who is likely to work hard.

Better Buesiness bureau. It is rare to get any usful information from them, but you might.

Look at their advertising. Do they market in the practice area that you need? You do nto want a criminal law attoreny handling a real estate or business/contract matter. YOu do not want a construciton lawyer handling your divorce. If your issue is simlpe, you may be ok with a general practitioner (someone who tries to do everything), but personally, I would select someone with a background in the particular area of law that you need.

The follwoing things are not meaningful:

Whos Who or similar publication listings and plaques.

Published appeallate cases. This does nto tell you that they are good or bad.

Newspaper articles. Again this really tells you nothing about the lawyer's skill.

Various bar association memberships and awards. The memberships mean nothing, you sign up, pay $25 per year or so and they send you a newsletter. The awards are pretty much based on politics, popularity and/or donations. They are not an assessment of legal abilities.

Publications. Just becasue someone wrote a book on a particular subject does not mean that they are an expert. Nor does it mean that they are good at handling legal matters inthat field. IN my field, the top litigators have no time to write books because they are busy litigating and besides, if you publish something, it could be used agaisnt you or your partners if you take a seemingly contrary position later.

"I have never lost a case" Usually that means that they have not actually tried very many cases. If you have tried hundreds of cases, the liklihood of having never lost anything is almost nil. Keep in mind that about 80% of the cases settle. If a lawyer tells you that they have tried 200 cases and they are less than 60 years old, they are either handling tiny cases like traffic tickets, or they are lying.




So what do you have to go on? Not a lot. Part of it is common snese. Tal to the lawyer about your case. If they seem to know waht they are talking about, that is a good thing. If they talk in circles, give you vague meaningless answers or say things that simply do nto make any sense, be wary. At the same time, do not expect a lawyer to tell you that you will win, or what the outcome of your case will be. If they do that, they are either lying, or they do nto know what they are doing. It is very very rare (virtually never) that a lawyer can say beyond any doubt that you will win or lose. If a case is that clear cut, it generally does not get to trial.

Older is not necessarily better. You want at least five years of expereince, and if they are not super impressive, I would be looking for 15 plus. However after about 15 to 20 years, things start evening out experience wise. Then you are looking more at skills. Do they communicate well? Do they make sense? If they do nto make sense to you, they are not going to make more sense when talking to a judge or jury.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:00 PM
 
624 posts, read 678,071 times
Reputation: 595
Isn't the term "good lawyer" an oxymoron?
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:27 PM
 
777 posts, read 744,623 times
Reputation: 242
Ask for a written agreement up front regarding her fees--or at least a memo from her outlining her billing practices. In the mean time you could send her a communication (email would be ok) stating the approximate amount you expect from the judgement if you win (e.g., $50k) and the maximum amount you are willing to spend on legal fees (e.g., $10k).
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:21 AM
 
1,159 posts, read 2,367,188 times
Reputation: 716
Just remember that there are more lawyers in SoCal alone than in ALL of Japan. That will tell you something about how much competition there is for cases among attorneys here.
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