If you are like millions of people in the United States, you have likely had to face a judge in a civil court of law. While civil law attempts to be a streamlined version of criminal law without lawyers and often without juries, there are no laws forbidding the use of lawyers in civil court cases, and if you find yourself in civil court with a company or large corporation or with someone looking at the chances of losing $5,000 (the usual limit for small claims court) then a lawyer is often present. Since most corporations and even mid sized companies have lawyers on staff full time, they often show up in civil court proceedings each and every time. Let’s take a look at how you can pick the best lawyer for your civil case.
The first question you need to ask yourself when it comes to picking out a lawyer for a civil lawsuit is if you really need one at all. The limit in most states for civil proceedings is $5,000, so if your lawyer fees are going to run in the hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars, you likely don’t need the help of a lawyer. In most cases, the civil court system is designed for an individual to represent themselves. You don’t need any prior information on law or any specialized training to win your case. However, if you are going up against someone who is using a lawyer or if you are going up against a large company, it is a good idea to protect your interests with a lawyer who has extensive civil court experience.
The next step in finding the perfect civil court lawyer is to make sure that the circumstances in your case match up with the field of expertise that your lawyer has. If you are going to small claims court for a personal injury, make sure your lawyer has extensive background in that area. The same is true if you are going to small claims court because of a sexual harassment case. Don’t just choose the biggest law firm in your area, make sure you match up your case with a lawyer who excels in that field.
Once you’ve picked your lawyer, make sure you are forthright in letting them know if you really want to go to court or not. Once your case has been decided on by a judge and a trial has been scheduled; many cases never make it any farther than that because a settlement has been reached. If you aren’t interested in offering or accepting a settlement, make sure you inform your lawyer of that so that a trial can occur. If you don’t want the hassle and the time consuming nature of a trial to take place, make sure your lawyer understands that a settlement is preferred.
Hiring a lawyer is one of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make. If you are headed to small claims court, you may not need one, but if you decide that a lawyer is the right way to go, make sure you choose wisely.