Local lawyers are important for a numbers of reasons, not the least of which is easy accessibility and knowledge of important local laws and legal distinctions. There are a number of areas of the law that are subject to interpretation, necessitating having a local Louisiana attorney to deal with legal issues in Louisiana. When using an out of state lawyer to deal with legal matters in Louisiana, you compromise the potential success of your case as your lawyer may not be aware of all Louisiana laws.
How do laws in Louisiana differ from other states?
State laws can vary for such matters as child support payments, gun licensing and carry, DUI laws and grounds for divorce. Gun laws are one of the more varied legal areas. Louisiana is a “shall issue” state for concealed carry gun licenses. Anyone seeking a handgun permit in Louisiana will undergo a 10 day background check by law enforcement to ensure they are not a threat to public safety. All non-military applicants must take a firearms safety training course. You may not carry the gun in establishments that sell alcohol, courthouses, parades, police stations, houses of worship and polling places.
State laws on firearms cannot be modified by local laws and these government bodies may not sue firearms manufactures for damages cause by their product. Most importantly, possession and transfer of automatic firearms and short barreled weapons is only allowed with the permission of the Department of Public Safety. If you ever unintentionally violate Louisiana gun laws, you will need a Louisiana attorney, knowledgeable on local laws to help formulate a defense.
What is the Louisiana Bar Association?
The Louisiana Bar Association is a mandatory membership organization for Louisiana attorneys. As it is a mandatory bar association, it provides a number of invaluable resources for member lawyers as well as complaints resolution and disciplinary procedures for those Louisiana attorneys that violate standards of ethical and professional conduct. In addition to this, there is a client assistance fund that will reimburse a client up to $25,000 for theft and other wrongdoings by a lawyer. This fund does not cover incompetence or a breach of duty. Lawyer fees may be reimbursed if you can prove that the lawyer did not provide the service promised by the fee arrangement.
Services for lawyers provided by the LSBA include a lawyer assistance program from lawyers with personal crises and a law office management assistance program to help independent Louisiana attorneys fun a profitable private practice. There are also a number of Continuing Legal Education courses for lawyers to become informed on new developments that affect their area of practice as well as the legal profession as a whole.
What should I do if I am defrauded by a Louisiana attorney?
If you are defrauded by a lawyer, you should file a complaint immediately with the LSBA disciplinary council. This will establish a record that you can use to be reimbursed from the client security fund. If you have not been outright defrauded, but feel your fee arrangement was unfair or exploitive, you will need to use the Lawyer Fee Dispute Resolution Service. This is an arbitration service that avoids court action and provides a binding decision that both parties must abide by. Those that participate in arbitration will no longer have the right to seek redress in court.
How do I know my Louisiana attorney is legitimate?
Membership in the LSBA is mandatory, so you will need to see proof of membership to ensure your Louisiana attorney is legitimate and may practice law in the state. Whenever you accept a legal service, ensure that your Louisiana attorney is legitimate and can prove that they have been admitted to the Bar in Louisiana. Unauthorized legal practice is a serious offense and may prevent a legal professional from ever practicing law in Louisiana.
Evaluating Values and Experience
Professionalism is important when determining if you should retain the services of a Louisiana lawyer. This is a subjective measure of how comfortable you feel working with the lawyer in addition to the expected behavior of a legal professional. Subjective factors in professionalism include ease of communication, objective evaluation and courtroom demeanor.
Louisiana Tort Reform
Louisiana has some of the toughest tort reform laws in the nation that limit damages in personal injury cases to the percentage of liability the defendant had in the injury. This allows the defendant to make a case by blaming another party and in the process reduce its liability payments. There is also a cap on punitive damages, although this has been challenged in court.
Finding a Louisiana attorney
You may use the Louisiana State Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service to find a Louisiana lawyer. Through this service, you will be connected to a lawyer that will handle your case with flat, contingency or hourly fee arrangements.
You may use this website to find an attorney using the Find Attorney function at the top of the page.
What are the typical rates of a Louisiana attorney?
Typical rules apply, such as working on contingency for accident cases, variable fees for complicated cases and flat fees for providing legal services, such as composing legal documents. All Louisiana attorney fees are subject to review and approval by the court.
A retainer arrangement is an agreement between the attorney and client to set up a billable trust account. This account may be refilled at any time at the discretion of the attorney and the client should be aware of this possibility.
Flat fees are typical of legal services that do not go to court. Unlike personal injury and other litigation, legal service fees are usually advertised, allowing the client to pick the best deal. There must be considerations for the quality of the lawyer and the document produced, of course. Initial consultations will also be flat fee arrangements.
What are questions to ask Louisiana attorneys?
How does my case relate to Louisiana laws?
Are local laws in effect for this case?
What is the statute of limitations for a case such as mine?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Are you a member, in good standing, of the Louisiana State Bar Association?
What roles do you play as a member?
Are you a member of a local Bar Association?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
What are my chances of winning a settlement or at trial?