Finding an Attorney
Except for a few exceptions, attorneys do not specialize in certain areas of law the way that doctors do. All attorneys in California take the same bar examination. There are very few ways for an attorney to be an official specialist (patent lawyers are one exception.)
However, this does not mean that attorneys do not have their particular areas of expertise. Employment law is a very special field. It mixes civil rights law with contract law, statutory torts with common-law torts, and federal law with state law.
When considering hiring a lawyer to handle an employment law case, the client should consider the lawyer's experience in employment law.
Paying for an Attorney
Attorneys can be very expensive. Hourly rates of $300.00 per hour are not unusual. It can cost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take a case to trial.
Many people who have an employment law problem cannot afford this. Often, they have been fired, and therefore have no income. Often, even if they won they would recover too little to make getting a lawyer worthwhile.
A common solution is the "contingency fee."
Some lawyers will represent clients on a "contingency fee" bases. A contingency fee is where the lawyer gets a portion of the client's recovery. Contingency fees are often around 1/3 to 45 percent, and sometimes are higher.
For example, Law Offices of David H. Greenberg, which publishes this web site, takes some cases on a contingency fee basis. Before it takes a case on that basis, it must consider the same things that a client who was considering paying on an hourly basis would consider. For example:
Is there a good chance of winning?
If the case is a real long-shot, the law firm is less likely to take the case on contingency. The is the same as the client who is considering spending his own money. The better the odds, the more likely the client is to gamble on winning. The lawyer must consider the same thing when it is his money and time at stake.
What are the damages?
Even if the odds of success are good, the lawyer must still consider just what that means. Maybe the person who was fired got a job the very next day for more money. What is there to sue over? The lost wages are minimal. Even if the client wins, there isn't much money at stake. It wouldn't be worth it for an employee to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to sue over one day's wages. Likewise it isn't worth it for the lawyer.
Costs of Suing
Aside from paying the lawyer for his time, there are also costs which must be paid. For instance, it costs $189.00 to file a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. It costs about $1,000.00 to pay for a stenographer to attend a deposition. Mailing costs and long-distance telephone bills, private investigators and messengers, are all costs of litigation.
Costs and Contingency Fees
If a lawyer is being paid on a contingency, the costs do not come out of the lawyer's contingency fee. The contingency fee pays the lawyer only for his time and effort. The client has to pay for the costs.
There are two ways the costs can be handled. First, the client can pay them up front. Second, the lawyer can pay the costs, and be reimbursed out of the settlement or verdict if the case is successful.
Some lawyers advance costs. Some don't. The client should be sure to find out before hiring the attorney.
Finding An Attorney In California & Outside California
Law Offices of David H. Greenberg handles cases throughout California. Outside of California, it handles cases only in special instances.
Law Offices of David H. Greenberg maintains a network of employment law attorneys throughout the Unites States. We will in the proper circumstances provide referrals to attorneys outside California.
- For Legal Help see David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.