Lisa Sherman, of Sherman Law Corporation, discusses key factors to consider when hiring an employment attorney.
First, it is key in any type of situation that who ever you meet with, that the intial consultation is comprehensive. Provide documents of whatever issues are going on before hand and when you meet with this lawyer determine whether you have a connection with them, do they understand your problem, do they have a grasp of the facts based on what you provided to them, and most importantly, who is going to be handling this matter. If the person sitting across from you is the partner but is eventually going to hand it off to someone else to handle, then there's always the chance you are going to be doubl billed and that the person who is at the higher billing level is not going to have the same command of the case as the junior associate. Employment cases are very fact specific, they are very personal, and are about relationships, both with your employees who they are going to interview and represent in depositions and it's also about your relationship and connection with that lawyer. Next, do you have a conection with this lawyer? Does it feel like their goals are aligned with yours? It's important that no matter how angry you are or how emotional you are about an employee, that you understand employment laws are very employee friendly. It takes a long time to go through the system and it's extremely expensive. More so than you can possibly image. So it's important that you understand what your spending your money on and that you are making cost-effective decisions because the one factor that typicals gets washed under the mat is the explanation to a client about what they should expect, what the process is going to be, and what it could cost them based on the facts. Next, it's important that when you walk out that door from the initial consultation that your lawyer has a game plan, and that he/she is not just going to agree with everything you say, tell you it's frivolous, write a few letters and promise it's going to go away. It's very importnat that when you come into that meeting that you provide information that that lawyer does a factual and legal investigation and then proposes cost-effective strategies. There needs to be a game plan, a budget, and a cost-effective solution out there because 9 times out of 10 employers do not understand that there are so many laws out there that they can be held liable even if they did not intend on it or they didn't know about it. Those are the attorneys who tell you at the out set these are the risks, this is the liability, and this is the best way to take care of it. Those are the ones you want to hire to be your employment counsel.