How to Find an Employment Lawyer in California
If you have suffered illegal or unfair treatment at work, you should immediately consult a qualified and competent California employment attorney. Holding your employer accountable for their wrongful behavior may likely be a lengthy and tricky matter. For that, you need an experienced labor law attorney that can provide the necessary guidance and legal representation.
However, there are several things you need to consider in order to find your employment lawyer, and also before you meet with them. Depending on your circumstances, you may be fighting for the right to retain your job or for justice after the wrong done to you. Therefore, it is important that your attorney understands what is at stake and is prepared to go the distance on your behalf.
This article explains how to ensure the lawyer you end up hiring is perfect for your case, and also what you should know about meeting them for the first time.
Finding & hiring your next California employment attorney
Finding an employment attorney competent and caring with your case is difficult and must be approached methodically meticulous, and with patience. This is because, just as no two cases are the same, employment lawyers’ experience and performance varies significantly. Each employment attorney can be very different in their approach and effectiveness. Since you will be working closely with the attorney for potentially extensive amounts of time (month to years), you must find an employment lawyer you are confident in their:
- compassion to your experience
- practicing style; arguing aggression and agility (are they trial-ready?)
- agreeability, amenability to your wishes
- personality, personability, communicativeness
- practicing performance, aggression, and methods.
These steps can help you start your search, narrow down your options and select the attorneys that make the most sense for your case.
- Start with a referral: Referrals are always a good way to start your search. A large majority of people find attorneys through referrals from family, friends and acquaintances. According to this report, at least 62% of people find these referrals very useful. Working off a referral allows you utilize the positive experiences of others regarding the attorbneys they have worked with. This way, you can also know what to expect in your search.
- Find out more about them: Ideally, your referrals should be attorneys that practice employment law and are called to the California State Bar. Having a local attorney not gives you a shorter distance to travel, you also benefit from having someone that knows the local scene well. To find out more about them, you can visit their website and social media, as well as online directories like Avvo and the California Employment Lawyers Association. You can also visit the State Bar website. There, you can look up their credentials, expertise and history.
- Create a shortlist: Next up is to create a shortlist of attorneys that look like they can do a job for you. Focus on attorneys that practice in the exact area of law that your case borders on. For instance, if you were retaliated against at work, you want an attorney that has a workplace retaliation practice. Make a shortlist of attorneys that fit the bill for you. A good number to aim for is between 3-5. This way, you have enough for a good comparison, but not so much to confuse you.
- Schedule an interview: When you visit the websites of the attorneys you have selected, you will see options to schedule an interview. This can be by calling them at their office telephone number or by filling an online form. When you are setting up the interview, pay attention to whatever offers the attorney provides for an initial consultation. Most attorneys provide a free consultation or a reduced price for your first meeting. Ensure you clarify this as well as how long the meeting will run for. Also clarify if the consultation will be physical or over electronic media.
Now that you have a viable shortlist of attorneys for your case, your next concern should be preparing for the interview.
What information to have ready when speaking to an employment lawyer
Consulting with an employment law attorney is almost like attending a job interview. Only, in this case, you are the boss and you’re looking for the perfect attorney for your employment law case.
As with all good job interviews, it pays to plan for the meeting in advance. Here’s how you should prepare for the meeting and the information you should have ready:
- Start with a synopsis: You have a likely lawsuit or a complaint about a violation of your employee rights. This is the first thing your attorney will want to know about (after the usual pleasantries) and you should be sure you have a clear summary of your complaint ready. Your attorney will expect you to first give a broad outline of your employment law claim, then provide a detailed narrative of exactly what happened. It can help to write down the details before you see the attorney, so you are sure you have all the details right. The attorney will likely want to know the exact complaint you have, the facts behind it, any harm you suffered and who you think is responsible for the harm. It is important to be honest and direct as you tell your story. If there are any areas where you were not entirely upstanding, tell it all as it is. Your attorney’s job is to win your case, but they cannot do this if they don’t know all the facts.
- Provide necessary evidence: If you have any documentation that backs up your story, be sure to take this along. Documentation can include emails, letters, notes, texts or any other record that supports your facts. If you also have eye witnesses that can attest to your story, it can help. Your attorney will need this information to assess the strength of your case and determine if you have a complaint that may be successfully pursued.
- Be ready to supply employment details: After you tell your story, you can expect your attorney to start asking questions. They will want to learn about your employer, including their policies, practices, history and any other helpful information about them. Your attorney will also want to know about the facts of your employment. This will help them understand your story in the appropriate context and will be a foundation for how your case might proceed.
- Prepare a summary of your damages: Finally, you should be prepared to provide a summary of how you may have been harmed financially by the wrong done to you. For instance, if you are complaining of a wrongful termination, the attorney will like to know what you were earning at the time you were fired and any benefits you might have been entitled to. They will also want to know about any other harm or expenses you incurred as a direct result of your termination.
With this information, you have what you need to provide a good basis for the employment attorney to understand your case and advise you of your next steps. But you should not leave all the talking to the attorney. It makes sense to also go prepared with your own questions.
What questions to ask an employment lawyer
Your interview with the attorney is a perfect opportunity to finalize your opinion about them. Remember that you have a shortlist? These questions will help you winnow down the list and settle on the California employment attorney that best fits your case. Here’s what you should ask:
- Does the attorney specialize in your area of interest? Clarify if the attorney devotes all or a large part of their practice to the area your case borders on. An attorney that specializes in that area will often have deeper knowledge about the applicable law and procedure than someone with a general practice.
- What experience do they have? Ask if they have handled any cases like yours and the results they were able to achieve. While past results are no guarantee of future success, they can at least help you gauge the competence of the attorney.
- What results are most likely for your situation? Let them explain the likely strengths and weaknesses of your case. While no one can say for sure how your case will do in court, a good attorney will give you an honest and balanced opinion of how your case is likely to fare in court.
- What options might be available to you? Although most people think all that attorneys do is try cases in court, this is not always the case. Employment law particularly involves several administrative and alternative procedures through which you may be able to secure fair compensation.
- What is their fee? This will be important to help you understand if you can afford the attorney. Most attorneys have different fee structures that they might offer. Many work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay anything upfront. The attorney will only collect a fee if you recover money. But this arrangement is not available for all cases.
Be certain to obtain answers to all these questions, as well as any other questions that might seem important to you. The goal of the interview is to see if the attorney is a good fit for you, and at the end of the interview, you should have a firm opinion on this, one way or the other.
Free Consultation with California Contingency Lawyer
If you like, you can also start your search here, with our experienced California employment law attorney at Eldessouky Law. We have successfully represented employees in both big and small workplaces in California, helping them recover fair compensation for their injuries.
We offer free, initial case reviews and in deserving cases, we also work on a contingency basis. To understand more about how we help California employees enforce their workplace rights, call us at 714-409-8991.