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  Lawyer / Attorney Background Check
 
Choosing the right lawyer makes the difference between winning and losing a case, getting the settlement you want or getting an innocent verses guilty verdict. A background check is one of the options to consider when deciding to choose a lawyer.
 
Lawyer or Attorney background checks search the following items:
   
  Firm Name, Address, Areas of Practice, Educational Background, Professional Affiliations, Any Awards or Honors received by the Lawyer, Lawyers professional memberships. Any Disciplinary Actions against the Lawyer, Any Complaints, Lawyers Year and Month of Birth, USA Nationwide Criminal, Civil Court records Search, Bankruptcy court search, Real Property Search, Aliases used and ratings as available.
   
  List of cases that Lawyer has tried in Courts
 
Search returns list of cases that a lawyer has tried in County, State and Federal courts including Family courts, District courts, Appeals courts and Supreme Courts at both the State and Federal level. The list generally includes Case Numbers, Title of the cases and names of the courts where the cases were tried. Most times the title includes names of the Plaintiff and Defendants, Petitioners and Respondents. This can help you determine the experience level of the Lawyer / Attorney or review each case to find the outcome of those cases. Full case files or documents are independent searches.
   
  *Success history of Trial Lawyers can be searched as an additional option. Success history includes the percentage of cases won, lost and settled.
   
  How do I choose a lawyer?
  The process of choosing a lawyer is similar to choosing a doctor, dentist, accountant or anyone who provides services. The process is not that different from how you would choose a product. It is always good to comparison shop and check the credentials of different attorneys. Ask them about the wisdom of retaining legal counsel and discuss all the fees upfront. You should also consider issues such as does it make sense to spend $800 in legal fees and court costs to recover a $200 bad debt? Before you look for a lawyer define the nature of your legal problem. Choose a lawyer who specializes in your type of problem. You will be wasting both your time as well as an attorney's if you bring a simple issue like a real estate transaction to a Divorce Lawyer. Once you define the problem you can choose a lawyer specializing in the areas of your problem. In choosing a lawyer, keep in mind competence as well as accessibility and price. One way to judge competence is by the amount of time the lawyer has devoted to keeping up with changes in the law through continuing legal education. Since you are hiring a lawyer to perform services for you, don't be embarrassed or reluctant to ask the attorney about his or her qualifications, experience and continuing education and verify it by conducting a background check on the lawyer. Remember the success of your case or resolution of your problem depends on the competency of the lawyer.
   
Questions to consider before selecting an Attorney 

Is the Attorney a certified specialist for the legal scope of your problem?
How long has the attorney been in practice?
Will the Attorney be doing the work himself or herself and if not then who will?
What will be the fees?
Are there any retainers and how does the retainer fees work?
What other costs will be involved in addition to the fees?
Can the Attorney give you an estimate of the total costs of the proceeding?
How does the Attorney bill and does he itemize the time spent?
How will the payments be made and will there be a payment schedule?
Does the Attorney have malpractice insurance and how much is it?
What does the Attorney expect you to do.
   
  What are your options if you have problems with your lawyer?
  Arbitration is a good option If you have a billing or fee dispute with your lawyer. Some bar associations provide free arbitration of fees. If you find or suspect your lawyer's conduct to be unethical, you can make a complaint to the appropriate disciplinary agency by contacting your local bar association or the highest court in the state. The fifty state supreme courts may suspend, disbar or censure a lawyer for unprofessional conduct. There is no reason to feel it is necessary to continue to be represented by a lawyer once you have discharged him. But don't take hasty actions. Often a meeting or conference with the lawyer can ease your concerns. He or she may not be aware of your dissatisfaction and the dismissed lawyer may be entitled to a fee for services actually rendered.
   
  Can you sue a lawyer if you are not satisfied with him?
  Most lawyers are competent and ethical. Can you sue a lawyer if he screws up? If you agreed to submit disputes to arbitration then no. In arbritation the rules of law and evidence don't always apply, and you'll have neither the right to a jury nor perhaps even the right to appeal. Lawyers can insert compulsory arbitration provisions in their retainer agreements. This isn't necessarily unethical, according to the ABA, provided the agreement doesn't insulate the lawyer from liability and the client understands what it means. It's mighty tough to nail a lawyer for malpractice. Some 68% of malpractice claims from 1996 through 1999 closed without the client receiving payment from the lawyer's insurance company, and only 6.7% netted more than $50,000, according to a 2001 ABA survey. Why is it so hard? For one thing, only an estimated 30 to 50% of lawyers even carry insurance, so collecting is a long shot. Plus, to win your case, you have to prove not only that the lawyer failed to perform but also that your case would have turned out differently had he done a better job. This is very hard to do since a legal issue is seldom a slam-dunk, even if the lawyer does everything right. Malpractice insurance doesn't cover everything.
   
   
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