Thursday, February 9, 2012

What to Look For in an Employment Lawyer

Ever get the feeling an employee is gearing up to sue you or file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner, or worse still, ever find out that they already HAVE filed a complaint? If you don't have an attorney already, finding one when you are under the additional pressure of facing an employment lawsuit or labor claim can be overwhelming.

Hiring an Employment Attorney

- What type of employment matters does the lawyer handle? If you are already facing an employment claim, look for an attorney with trial experience. If you want advice on preventing future claims, look for someone with experience in advising businesses like yours, so that your attorney brings an understanding of the issues you face as an employer to the table.

- What is the attorney's skill level? Are you confident that the employment lawyer you are considering will be able to argue your case with opposing counsel, interact with employees in sensitive situations, or negotiate the best deal for you as an employer?

- How much does the attorney know about employment law? The law changes fast, and it is important that the person you choose to represent you is up to date on new legislation and regulations. State and federal labor laws can be complicated. Ask the lawyer if they are aware of any changes in the law as it impacts your case.

- What is the attorney's fee structure? Look for an attorney who offers value billing, and a commitment to working with you as an employer to keep your legal fees and expenses trim.

If the employment attorney you choose offers a free consultation, come prepared with questions about your case and how they will handle it. Look for a lawyer who will keep you up to date on the progress of your case and make themselves available for any questions you have. This may seem logical, but did you know that failure to return phone calls is one of the biggest complaints clients have about their lawyers?

Finally, it is important that you feel comfortable discussing your business and your employees with your employment attorney. A good lawyer should not be intimidating, speak about your case using legal terms that you don't understand, or forget that being sued or having a claim filed against you is a stressful and unique experience for even the most experienced employers.

What do you think? Are there other things you want to see in an employment lawyer? As always, I look forward to your calls and emails.

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