Guide to Finding Michigan Attorneys

Guide to Finding Michigan Attorneys

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Guide to Finding Michigan Attorneys

Michigan attorneys are essential to dealing with a number or law and state law issues and represent your best chance at a favor outcome in Michigan courts.  You will have a number of options to find a reliable Michigan attorney including this website, using the Find Attorneys function at the top of the page.  Jurisdictions vary and even lawyers from neighboring states are not always entirely aware of laws in the other states.  It will be convenient to have a local lawyer and you will be the beneficiary of the extent of the Michigan attorney’s breadth of experience in dealing with the applicable laws.
What is the State Bar of Michigan?
The SBM is a mandatory membership bar association for all Michigan attorneys.  It is supervised by the Michigan Supreme Court and serves to improve the administration of justice in the state of Michigan as well as crack down on the unauthorized practice of law in the Michigan.  Failure to pay dues to the SBM will cause the suspension of the Michigan attorney from the Bar, which will make the ineligible to practice law in the state.  Attorneys that do not pay dues for more than three years will force the Michigan attorney to seek recertification from the MSB.  
Membership in the State Bar of Michigan benefits lawyers in a number of ways.  In addition to certifying them to practice law, this organization will provide professional networking opportunities as well as lawyer assistance programs and a client’s security fund in the event that there are malpractice allegations against or misappropriate by a Michigan attorney.
Michigan attorneys will receive ethics counseling if necessary and will also adhere to the codes of Professional and Judicial Conduct to ensure that all lawyers follow a professional standard.  This is accompanied by a several initiatives that aim to promote legal aid, fairness in the justice system and equal application of the law.  There is also a policy initiative and a pro bono initiative to focus on issues related to these two fields.  Additionally, the state bar will keep lawyers informed on legal developments and other issues through a series of briefs and publications, such as the Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly.
The SBM operates a lawyer referral service and consultations are determined by priority.  A Michigan attorney will lose priority in the referral system for turning down multiple referrals and may also be removed from the referral system altogether.  This is different from typical lawyer referral services and this mandate will ensure that the client will have legal representation regardless of their circumstances.  A percentage of high attorney fees must be remitted to the referral service and if a member of the Bar loses good standing due to misconduct, then the lawyer will also be removed from the referral system.  Not all Michigan attorneys will be in this system, only those that pay a $75 registration fee.
How do I know my Michigan attorney is legitimate?
The Michigan State Bar issues certificates of good standing to members, which will serve as definitive proof that the lawyer may practice law in the state.  The unauthorized practice of law is a priority for the SBM and this is reflected in the measures taken to protect clients against legal malpractice.  Membership in the State Bar Association in mandatory and those lawyers that do not pay their membership fees are placed on non-payment lists, which are distributed to the courts and other legal professional services.  This will prevent an ineligible Michigan lawyer from representing you in court.  If you cannot verify that your Michigan attorney is in good standing, you will need to find another lawyer to deal with your legal matter.
What are the typical rates of a Michigan attorney?
Excessive fees are limited by Michigan law and administer the “reasonable lawyer test,” which is applied on a case-by-case basis.  Additionally, lawyers are required by state law to refund all unused payment for services upon the termination of services, such as the balance of a retainer account.  
A typical Michigan attorney will offer a number of alternate arrangements and payment options that can include working on contingency for accident and negligence cases.  The contingency arrangement will usually limit the costs to the client to court fees making this area of the law open to the average individual.  All other legal matters will either require a public defender or a referral to a pro bono service for legal aid.  
Michigan law limits contingency fees for personal injury cases to no more than 1/3 of the award, with considerations for substantial settlements.  Be aware that even with contingency arrangements, the client may still be expected to pay for court fees and other associated costs.  
Additionally, you may be able to receive legal services from Michigan attorneys unbundled or in flat fees.  In that way, you pay only for the services you need.  Prices quoted for litigation cases are almost always estimates, which is problematic for lengthy or problematic cases.  Choose a trustworthy lawyer that has a record of fair fees before embarking on a lengthy legal process.
Most Michigan attorneys will offer free consultations where you will be able to express your concerns about fees and the estimate of how much you can pay and when.  There are enough Michigan attorneys and law firms that you can choose from, so feel free to take as many consultations as possible.  Be sure to ask about ancillary fees and fees for using office staff and resources.  Some law offices will even charge for incoming phone calls.  Be sure to have all fees in writing.  When dealing with unreasonable or hidden fees from a Michigan attorney, you may need to contact the local bar association to enter fee dispute resolution.
What are questions to ask Michigan attorneys?
How does my case relate to Michigan state and local laws?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Are you a member, in good standing, of the Michigan State Bar Association?
What roles do you play as a member?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
What are my chances of winning a settlement or at trial?
Can you refer me to another lawyer if you are unable to take my case?

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