Q: WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN SELECTING A LAWYER
TO REPRESENT ME?
A: Before hiring a lawyer, a prospective client should research the
firm he or she is considering to hire. Ask the lawyer to tell you about
his/her experience dealing with cases similar to yours. Ask the lawyer
to go over the fee contract with you in detail, and be sure you
understand how you will pay the lawyer's fee and costs. Ask about the
possible adverse consequences if your case is lost. Ask if your lawyer
intends to handle your case alone, and if you are told that other
lawyers outside the law firm will be asked to assist, find out what the
fee arrangements will be.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HIRING A SMALL FIRM?
A: Our clients enjoy the personal contact associated with a small
firm with the resources available in larger firms.
Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY FIRST APPOINTMENT
WITH YOUR FIRM?
A: At Stuart R. Berg, P.C., you will find us to be courteous and
professional. Visiting a law firm for the first time can be an anxious
experience, and we will do our best to make you comfortable. Having
documents at our disposal is always beneficial, so we always suggest to
new clients that they bring whatever paperwork they have pertaining to
their inquiry. Of course, the initial consultation is always free.
Q: WHAT IS A RETAINER?
A: A retainer can be considered a deposit towards time that your
attorney is going to spend on your case. You are billed against the
retainer deposited with your attorney at his/her customary hourly rate.
An attorney that you would consider hiring is one that presents you with
a written retainer agreement that clearly spells out the terms and
conditions of your relationship with his/her firm.
Q: HOW LONG DOES A LEGAL CASE TAKE FROM
BEGINNING TO END?
A: There is no precise answer to this question. Depending on the
complexity of the case and the County in which it is filed can have a
great effect upon the movement of your case.
Q: THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN
A TRIAL. WHAT IS THE PREPARATION LIKE?
A: Statistics show that most cases get resolved prior to going to
trial. Regardless, our firm prepares every case as if it might
ultimately be decided by a jury. We believe in being prepared in the
event that an agreement between the parties cannot be reached. By the
time your case is ready for trial you will have spent a great deal of
time with our office in preparation for trial.
Q: WILL THE COURT AWARD ME MY LEGAL FEES IF I
WIN MY LAW SUIT AFTER TRIAL?
A: Except in rare instances, the court will not award counsel fees.
However, in a divorce case, the non-monied spouse is often awarded
counsel fees for the obvious reason of attempting to place that litigant
on a level playing field with the monied spouse. In a contract action or
in a landlord/tenant case, the court might be empowered to award counsel
fees, if it is addressed in a contract or in a lease. Even here, the
court will probably award "reasonable attorney's fees" despite what sums
you might have already paid to your attorney.
Q: SHOULD I SETTLE MY CASE OR SHOULD I INSIST ON
A: Any experienced attorney will counsel you that settlement is an
appropriate option that should be considered throughout the course of a
litigated case. Once you enter the legal system, you are never assured
what a judge or jury will do and accordingly it is that factor that
motivates most litigants to consider resolving their case. A seasoned
attorney can give you his or her best legal opinion as to what they view
as the strengths and weaknesses of your case, but even the most
experienced amongst us cannot assure the results. A fair and specific
settlement document is an option that must always be presented to a
Q: ONCE I WIN MY CASE DO I IMMEDIATELY GET PAID,
AND IS THE CASE CLOSED?
A: Not always. In commercial cases you can find yourself on the
winning side and yet the defendant has sold his business or transferred
his assets before you can collect on your judgment. There are legal
remedies and avenues that can be pursued after a judgment is obtained,
however, it is possible that the verdict in your favor does not put a
close to your case.
Q: WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CLIENT ONCE
I HIRE THE ATTORNEY?
A: While the attorney's actions are ruled by law and various ethical
rules, you as the client, need to help the attorney help you. Providing
all information relative to your case, as well as, being responsive to
the attorney's request are key elements in the proper preparation of
your case. A major element to a solid preparation for your case is to
impart to the attorney the strong points of your position, as well as,
the weak points, early on. By knowing the weaknesses and being able to
prepare for them is a key element in a successful advancement of your