Robert Zarco Reveals When And How To Hire A Litigation Lawyer (Part 2)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Attorney Robert Zarco, Founder of the law firm Zarco, Einhorn, Salkowski, & Brito, P.A., picks up where he left off from Part 1 concerning when and how one should hire a litigation lawyer.

Learn the Process and Know the Risks Ahead of Time

Often times, the process of litigation takes longer than one year. It is a process with multiple variables hanging in the balance and has many lapses of time in between highly active periods. The dispute resolution process begins with filing a lawsuit and includes the following five steps:

  1. Pleadings: Plaintiff submits complaint to the court, which explains court’s jurisdiction the plaintiff’s claims against the Defendant, as well as the damages being requested.
  2. Discovery: During this, the longest phase of the litigation process, the attorneys representing both the plaintiff and defendant will request information from each other in the form of depositions. Additionally, attorneys will produce documents that are aimed to strengthen their respective cases and ought to be shared without concealment.
  3. Motions: This step allows either party to file a request for specific actions from the court. There are two general categories to which Motions can be assigned. A Dispositive Motion can result in the court’s dismissal of the complaint or lawsuit. A Non-Dispositive Motion will allow the court’s ruling to address a particular pre-trial procedure or issue.
  4. Settlement Negotiation: There are a variety of factors that can compel both parties to explore the option for an agreement or settlement. These factors can include the uncertainty of potential outcomes of the case by the court, the expensive cost for a Trial and/or the great interruption in people’s lives.
  5. Trial: Should the process reach this phase, it is likely to be intense, disruptive and expensive. The following are standard elements included in a trial: Jury Selection | Opening Statements | Witness Testimony & Cross-Examination | Closing Arguments | Jury Instruction | Jury Deliberation & Verdict| Post-Trial Practice| Appeals

Discuss the Costs and Fees

Attorneys charge differently based upon whom they represent. Litigators who represent the plaintiff usually work on a Contingency Basis. This is a success-based method where the attorney is paid nothing if there is no money rewarded in the dispute by the court. However, there is a shared percentage of any monies (settlement or damages) recovered with the attorney as a result of the dispute. With Contingency, all of the risk of the cost of litigation lies with the attorney , unless there is any agreed out-of-pocket expenses, which should be discussed in writing.

When a Litigator represents a defendant, they usually charge an hourly fee, in addition to an upfront retainer. Additional expenses may constitute filing fees, court reporters, travel, lodging, interpreter, and expert witness fees, for example. Each attorney’s hourly rate varies drastically based on their experience and geographical location, among other factors.

Some law firms might even charge on a blended basis which combines both contingency as well as an hourly rate. Regardless of the how you are charged, clients are always recommended to get informed, understand clearly, negotiate, get things in writing, and read all agreements. Again, your case is often only as good as your lawyer, so choose wisely and decide accordingly.