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Guide to Finding Minnesota Attorneys

Guide to Finding Minnesota Attorneys

Legal matters are never straightforward and if you find yourself facing a legal matter in Minnesota, you will want a local Minnesota attorney managing the details of your case.  A Minnesota attorney will be experienced at evaluating state and local laws and will also be able to demonstrate how your legal matter may proceed.  The intersection of state and local laws may create unfamiliar complications and legal distinctions that your Minnesota attorney will be able to handle.  There are a number of ways to find reliable Minnesota attorneys, both through this website and through local organizations.
What are organizations of Minnesota attorneys?
The voluntary membership Minnesota State Bar Association is the primary professional organization for many Minnesota attorneys.  Through this organization, Minnesota attorneys may enter arbitration or fee dispute resolution.  The availability of these services will give clients peace of mind when working with a Minnesota attorney.  The MSBA works extensively with local bar associations to promote the availability of alternate dispute resolution services, which in turn increase the public perception of lawyers and avoid costly litigation that would harm both the attorney and client.  In the worst case scenarios, the attorney dispute will be referred to the Minnesota Lawyer’s Board, which will impose severe penalties on the Minnesota lawyer, if there is indeed evidence of wrongdoing.
This organization also works for the benefit of its members by providing resource and guidance for novice Minnesota attorneys.  This includes professional law practice management services and a young lawyers section for those new to the legal practice.
Membership in the MSBA is based on number of years admitted to the bar, and will be as low as $20 for law students.  Membership in this and other bar associations is an important affiliation for Minnesota attorneys, due to the professional networking and other important services provided, such as Continuing Legal Education classes.
Some Minnesota attorneys will be members of their local bar association.  For instance, Minnesota attorneys in Minneapolis will be members of the Hennepin County Bar Association.  The local bar associations will fulfill many of the same functions as the state bar and will operate a lawyer referral service for local residents or those dealing with a legal matter in the area.
What should I do if I cannot afford a Minnesota attorney?
There are a few options available for those that cannot afford legal services.  The MSBA maintains a law help website, in conjunction with other pro bono groups that service state residents to advise and help low income Minnesotans with civil issues.  As is the case all over the United States, indigent persons are appointed a public defender in criminal cases.  For many forms of litigation, including personal injury, malpractice and accidents lawsuits, your Minnesota attorney will usually work on contingency, with the client paying the court fees.  Even the fee for the initial consultation will typically be free or waived, depending on the legal matter.
How do I know my Minnesota attorney is legitimate?
There are a number of ways to evaluate your Minnesota attorney effectively.  While bar association membership is not mandatory to practice law in Minnesota, admission to the state bar is mandatory, which is the case in every state except some exceptions in California.  Bar association membership is a good indicator that the attorney you choose to handle your legal matter has been vetted by a reputable organization and will adhere to a strict code of ethics and professionalism.
Professionalism and demeanor will be an important factor in making your decision.  Ensure that your lawyer communicates with you effectively, which includes being available to answer questions on your legal matter and ensuring that you understand all phases of the process.  An ideal Minnesota attorney will be objective and offer an impartial evaluation of the details of your case.  It is the professional duty of the lawyer to inform the client of potential complications in the legal action.

What are the typical rates of a Minnesota attorney?
As mentioned earlier a typical Minnesota attorney will offer a number of alternate arrangements and payment options that can include working on contingency for accident and negligence cases.  For these cases, the attorney can claim a percentage fee a settlement won for a client.  Some clients may find this preferable to retaining or paying a lawyer by the hour.  
The Minnesota Supreme Court recently released new rules on Minnesota attorneys, preventing them from charging non-refundable fees.  Fees can be refunded to the client if the lawyer fails to meet obligations listen in the fee agreement.  If the client terminates the lawyer’s services, he or she is entitled to receive the unearned portion of the fee.  Be aware of this right when maintaining the services of a Minnesota attorney.
You will be charged by the hour for most non-litigation legal services, the only exception being services explicitly offered as flat rate, such as mediation services.  Hourly and flat fees may be charged to a retainer account.  The retainer is a trust account maintained between an attorney and client and the attorney will bill this account for services rendered.  The retainer account will be refilled at the discretion of the attorney.
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 Minnesota attorney, you may need to contact the local bar association to enter fee dispute resolution.
What are questions to ask Minnesota attorneys?
How does my case relate to Minnesota state and local laws?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Are you a member, in good standing, of the Minnesota 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?