Civil rights protect individuals from unfair treatment by those in positions of authority. Equality is the backbone of American society, but not all interactions are as equal as they should be. If you or someone you know suspects that their civil rights have been violated, you feel uncertain about what to do next.
The good news is that there are civil rights lawyers who help people defend their rights. Choosing the best civil rights attorney is an important step in justice-seeking, so be sure to ask the right questions when vetting anyone as a potential legal representative.
Have You Worked On Cases Like Mine In The Past?
When it comes to practicing law, there are useful ways to build new cases based on similar cases from the past. An attorney who has helped other people in your legal situation should reflect on how they may handle your case too—including the approaches they take and their knowledge of what previous legal strategies have worked. While no one will have a case that is identical in every detail to yours, a civil rights attorney who has worked on similar cases will have the experience and knowledge to know what to avoid, what to highlight, and potential problem areas that could arise.
Do You Work In General Civil Rights Or A More Specialized Field?
As the law in general, civil rights is a broad field. Some law firms employ a wide range of legal specialists to cover a variety of cases. Choose an attorney whose experience and expertise matches your case’s needs. For example, a civil rights attorney who focuses on police brutality cases may not be the right fit for your unlawful detainment case, even though they are a legal professional who handles other civil rights matters. A lawyer who specializes in your type of legal case is likely to be the best fit.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
Every attorney has to start somewhere. Hiring a new, young lawyer is not a bad idea on its own. However, there are benefits to entrusting your civil rights case to an experienced professional. Those benefits include years of legal practice learning common defenses and effective client-defense techniques. Longtime lawyers are more likely to have the experience needed for a successful legal outcome.
What Are Your Fees And Billing Practices?
Unless your attorney is working for you pro bono (free of charge), you will be expected to pay legal fees. Understanding how your civil rights lawyer schedules their fees for different legal services—such as filing paperwork or securing depositions—will help you plan your finances for your defense. Many offices provide their clients with the option of payment plans. Others may charge you on a contingency basis, such as billing you for a percentage of your settlement money if they win the case for you. Verify with your attorney if you will need to pay anything upfront.
How Do You Pursue Negotiations?
Civil rights cases do not always end up in a courtroom. A skilled attorney may be able to settle your dispute outside of court, sparing both parties the time commitment and legal fees of a court date. However, this requires strong negotiation skills, which some lawyers are more adept in than others. Question your prospective legal representative to discover where they fall on this spectrum and if that aligns with your own goals and needs.
Will You Be Solely Responsible For My Case?
Attorneys are just one of many legal professionals who assist clients. Paralegals, office managers and more are all part of what makes a law firm function. Ask your civil rights lawyer if they will be the primary person working on your case. If not, ask them who else will be responsible. They may choose a trusted legal assistant to review your case or leave the drafting of certain paperwork up to paralegals. Understanding how a law office will approach your case will give you insight into what type of experience to expect, as well as the expected costs since most junior staff bill their hours at a lower rate.
Entrust Your Civil Rights Concerns To The Legal Professionals
Civil rights violations can be stressful and scary. For many, the thought of filing a lawsuit only adds to that stress. Civil rights attorneys, like those at The Brown Firm, know that you deserve justice and strive to make the legal process as simple and accessible as possible. Reach out to learn more or to schedule a consultation to get started.