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Who should you call if you need Legal Representation in 2016?

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Newsweek Insights

Every form of modern civilization is governed by law, but sometimes the layers of rules that keep society in order can be convoluted, archaic, prone to manipulation or simply plain difficult to understand. Expert help, however, can be a godsend when it comes to navigating complicated legal procedures within such diverse areas as personal injury and criminal defense; it could mean the difference between being unfairly penalized and getting the justice you deserve.

Personal Injury

In simplistic terms, 'personal injury' refers to an area of law that covers claims that result from one party's belief that they have been wronged or had damage caused to them by another party. It encompasses everything from defective product complaints right down to cases involving racial or gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Since the court is not obligated to provide an attorney in the case of civil litigation, unlike criminal law, finding the right one is up to you.

Most cases relating to personal injury are settled in private and never come before a judge. Thus, it is important to find an attorney that really takes the time to understand your situation and can negotiate fairly on your behalf during the settlement process. An in-depth understanding of and experience with related cases is also a must as they should be able to gauge the value of your claim relative to other similar disputes, as well as being able to anticipate and preempt the demands of the other party.

However, if an amicable solution cannot be found or if one party thinks that they have a better chance of winning the case, it may proceed to court. If you hired a lawyer with forethought, they will have anticipated any eventuality and should have already begun preparing for the court case. A good attorney will understand the need for responsiveness and flexibility in working full-time with you to develop a strategy and leverage upon their previous experience to advocate for your behalf.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense, however, is arguably a more serious field as depending on the severity of the accusation; life and death can hang in the balance. To preserve the balance of justice, every accused is entitled to some degree of legal protection, whether it is state-sponsored or privately hired – and that is precisely what the term 'criminal defense' refers to. Fines and jail time are almost certainly part of the sentences sought and imposed; for the particularly severe, the death penalty may even come into play.

If you should choose to hire a private counsel, expertise is key. Ideally, not only should your lawyer be well-versed in general criminal defense law, he or she should also specialize in arguing similar cases involving the crime or offense that you are accused of as they will be able to draw upon the judgments of these examples to help you plead your case – or, at the very least, be aware of what outcomes to expect and think of ways to preserve your interests.

A good criminal defense lawyer will take the time to thoroughly assess your case and break down the process for you, as well as being able to advise you on the best course of action and provide you with all the possible outcomes. There are various types of plea bargaining strategies that could have a case resolved without a court trial, but if that recourse is exhausted, then your attorney must be able to develop the right theory and present your case convincingly enough before the jury, aiming to find a narrative that resonates enough with them to reduce your sentence or clear you of all charges.

Ultimately, a good attorney and by extension, a good law firm, should be one that has had considerable experience in the type of legal matter and/or industry that you require assistance with. They should be able to cater to your financial and scheduling needs, as well as being able to resolve your issue in a timely manner. More importantly, however, you must find one that you are genuinely comfortable speaking to and dealing with about potentially sensitive matters, for the absence of rapport in the relationship between a client and an attorney can make a world of difference.

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