If you have a legal issue in Tucson that needs resolution, a Tucson attorney will be vital to ensuring your interests are met and that you receive fair treatment in the legal system. It is always best to have a local lawyer as you will be able to communicate with your lawyer easily and will not have to travel to other jurisdictions under most circumstances.
What should I do before meeting a Tucson attorney?
What you must do varies by the case. For most legal matters, you must bring evidence related to your case. This means police and medical reports when seeking a Tucson litigation lawyer, employment records when suing for worker’s compensation and contracts when dealing with an aspect of business law.
For injury cases, the Tucson attorney can help determine if your claim is legitimate and build a case to collect damages from the liable person or organization. Proving liability is the most important factor in any injury case, as this is instrumental to proving negligence and a violation of the duty or standard of care that would be expected of a reasonable person.
Ensure that you are within the statute of limitations for the case you intend to file. These will vary by the type of litigation and the state. Typical Arizona statutes of limitations include two years for medical malpractice or products liability injury and one year for intentional injuries.
Where to look for an attorney
The State Bar of Arizona is a mandatory membership organization and the disciplinary records of all Tucson attorneys are posted for review by the public. The State Bar maintains a “Find a Lawyer” service, which will help you find a Tucson attorney near you. All Arizona lawyers will be held to the professional and ethical standards of this organization.
The Pima County Bar Association is the most important local bar association for Tucson attorneys. The PCBA provides professional links and mentoring for Tucson attorneys. Additionally there is the Qualified Income Legal Team (QUILT) Program designed for clients that are not indigent but will still have some difficulty hiring a lawyer. Tucson attorneys that are a part of the QUILT program will provide lower priced legal services to Tucson residents that qualify for these benefits. You may also purchase certain legal forms from the PCBA. The PCBA also maintains a listing of the best Tucson lawyer firms, which they call the 100% Club.
The PCBA offers a Lawyer Referral Service that will provide a 30 minute consultation with a lawyer that is qualified to assist you with your legal matter for $35. You will be assured that all lawyers in this service will be members of the State Bar of Arizona and will be an expert worthy of your legal matter. This service operates form 9 – 4:30 on weekdays. The service can also help you make a determination on if your legal matter will require the services of a Tucson lawyer in the first place.
You may also use this website to find a Tucson attorney, by using the Find Attorneys function at the top of the page.
Evaluating your Tucson attorney
Outlandish and excessive claims tend to be endemic to injury lawyers. Other Tucson attorneys may overbill or be deceptive in their billing practices. You will want a Tucson attorney that is honest, refrains from promising lucrative payments and will offer an objective evaluation of your case. Failure for a Tucson attorney to practice by these mandates of professional responsibility will compromise your case.
Have a strategy before agreeing to meet to settle with the other party or take them to trial. Your lawyer may wish to avoid trial and achieve the best result through negotiation or the lawyer may prefer to have the case go before a jury.
Difficulty in communicating with your Tucson attorney is enough reason to consider another lawyer that will give your case adequate attention. If necessary, you will have to file a complaint with the State Bar of Arizona which maintains a disciplinary body to resolve disputes between Tucson lawyers and their clients.
Relevant fees and arrangements
The typical fee arrangement for injury, malpractice, accident and worker’s compensation cases are contingency fees. Contingency fees are only collected if damages are won, which reduces the legal costs of the plaintiffs significantly. The client will only have to pay the relevant court fees. Be aware of lawyers that seek to settle exclusively out of court and readily accept lowball offers, thus getting a quick payday while leaving you with a settlement far below what your claim deserves.
Before you come to an arrangement with an Tucson attorney, you may be billed for hourly fees for use of the lawyer’s time beyond the initial consultation. A retainer fee is a non-refundable advance payment by the client that covers the cost of services provided by the lawyer. This is held in a trust account and is refilled at the discretion of the lawyer. The use of a retainer can cause the costs of the case to skyrocket so ensure that you and your lawyer discuss this arrangement at length.
Take advantage of free consultations when they are available to discuss potential fees and payment arrangements with Arizona divorce lawyers. The above fees do not consider court costs, which are also paid by the client. You may be able to arrange low cost and extended payment for legal services at the discretion of the attorney or law firm. Contact the QUILT program for more information on low cost legal services.
The Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. (SALA) is the pro bono service provider for Tucson and should be contacted if you are in need of free lawyer services. Be prepared to demonstrate that you have a need for free services as these services are limited in scope and availability.
Interviewing your attorney
The following questions are important when interviewing your attorney:
How does my case relate to Arizona laws?
Are local laws in effect for this case?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
Can we work out an alternate arrangement that suits my economic needs?
What are my chances of winning a settlement or at trial?
Do you have inclusive service packages available?