It is important to have local Mississippi attorneys to handle a legal matter in the state of Mississippi. This is especially true if the legal matter is one that varies by state, such as state laws that vary on DUI penalties, gun control and child custody. Having the services of a Mississippi lawyer is essential to ensuring a favorable outcome in court and there exists a number of excellent options to find a Mississippi attorney that will suit your needs.
How do laws in Mississippi differ from other states?
Gun control laws are one area of law that vary widely from state to state. These laws are generally based on cultural and geographic factors, as well as ideological motivations. Mississippi has comparatively lax guns laws, issuing permits to all qualified residents. The permit is received within 45 days of application and lasts five years before it will need to be renewed. Although concealed carry is allowed in Mississippi, there are limitations and a gun owner may not carry the weapon into a school, courthouse, police station, government building or polling place. There are also restrictions on concealed carry in establishments that sell alcohol, airport passenger terminals or during parades. Additionally, locations may ban guns on the property with clearly posted signage.
Mississippi state law preempts almost all local gun laws except for the discharge of firearms, public carry of firearms in parks or meetings or the use of those firearms during a riot or insurrection. Only the state may bring lawsuits for damages against gun manufacturers and dealers.
As you can see, the distinctions in these laws can be extensive and confusing, which necessitates a Mississippi attorney to inform you of your legal rights when facing a violation on gun laws in Mississippi. An out of state attorney would not be able to identify the same nuances and distinctions in the state and local laws.
What is the Mississippi Bar Association?
The Mississippi bar is an integrated bar association and all Mississippi attorneys must be members of this organization. There are over 7,000 members in this bar association. In having an integrated bar, there is a mechanism for the education, discipline and legislative advocacy for Mississippi attorneys as well as professional and ethical standards.
The MBA has adopted Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence as well as advocated for high judicial salaries, the creation of a Court Of Appeals and the creation of an Administrative Office of the Courts.
Services for lawyers provided by the MBA include a lawyer assistance program from lawyers with personal crises such as substance abuse or stress. There is also a young lawyer’s division to help acclimate new Mississippi attorneys to the profession. 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. CLE education is mandatory for Mississippi attorneys.
There are additional county bar associations for Mississippi lawyers in each country in Mississippi.
How do I know my Mississippi attorney is legitimate?
Membership in the MBA is mandatory, so you will need to see proof of membership to ensure your Mississippi attorney is legitimate and may practice law in the state. Whenever you accept a legal service, ensure that your Mississippi attorney is legitimate and can prove that they have been admitted to the Bar in Mississippi.
The Mississippi integrated bar stands by the quality and professionalism of their lawyers, but does maintain a complaint procedure in case the client feels that their Mississippi attorney has been unethical or otherwise neglected their duties. Lawyers will only be disciplined for a breach of ethical code. Mistakes and other errors will need to be settled in court and will not be punished by the MBA. You will need to submit evidence of unethical behavior and may need to be present at a complaint tribunal if necessary. Once a complaint is filed, it cannot be withdrawn. The Mississippi attorney will be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint, if necessary.
If you have not been outright defrauded, but feel your fee arrangement was unfair or exploitive, you will need to contact the Resolution of Fee Committee. This is separate from the complaints body described in the previous paragraph. The committee will interpret the nature of the dispute and provide remedial measures if necessary and if there is indeed excessive fees charged by the lawyer. It is the client responsibility to understand the fees in any lawyer agreement before accepting services.
Evaluating Values and Experience
Professionalism is important when determining if you should retain the services of a Mississippi 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.
Mississippi Tort Reform
Mississippi passed strict tort reform acts that restrict the venues where a personal injury case can be heard, capping non-economic and punitive damages, establishing innocent seller protections in product defect cases and establishing new rules for medical malpractice punishment procedures. The current caps on punitive damages are based on the net worth of the defendant and are as follows:
• $0-$50 million 2% defendant’s net worth
• $50-$100 million $2,500,000
• $100-$500 million $3,750,000
• $500-$750 million $5,000,000
• $750 million-$1 billion $15,000,000
• more than $1 billion $20,000,000
In any state with new or changing tort reform laws it is important to have a local attorney that is aware of these restrictions. A Mississippi lawyer will be your best bet at achieving a favorable personal injury case in the face of these tort reform laws.
What are the typical rates of a Mississippi attorney?
Mississippi attorneys will charge hourly, flat or contingency fees, depending on the type of case. Personal injury, accident and malpractice cases will be subject to the contingency arrangement and will only entail the client paying court fees, with the Mississippi attorney collecting a percentage of the jury award.
A retainer arrangement is an agreement between the attorney and client to set up a billable trust account. Flat fees or hourly fees will be charged to this account as per the existing arrangement between the client and lawyer. 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 Mississippi attorneys?
How does my case relate to Mississippi 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?
Do you have proof of Bar Association membership?
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?