Lewis, Lewis & Falkner is proud to announce that Albert G. Lewis III has again been granted an “AV Preeminent Rating” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.

Awarded to fewer than ten percent of all attorneys across the United States, the AV Rating is the highest possible rating given by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for a lawyer. The AV Preeminent rating is given on a peer-review basis and signifies that Al has been rated by Judges and fellow attorneys as having the highest level of professional excellence for legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards.

The AV Preeminent designation is a nationally recognized acknowledgment of Al’s accomplishments and skills as an attorney, and places him among the elite practitioners in the country.

Al first achieved AV-Preeminent status in 2014, and has maintained the designation since that time.

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task. Lawyer Ratings serve as an objective indicator that a lawyer has the highest ethical standards and professional ability, and are used by buyers of legal services to justify their hiring decisions.   AV Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary.

It’s important to find a lawyer you can trust and work well with.  But how do you find the right fit?

It’s likely that you’ll need a lawyer’s services at some point in your life.  If you don’t know any lawyers personally you may feel lost when the time comes to hire one.  So, where should you start?

Talk to people in your community who have been in a similar situation.

For example, if you need a lawyer because you have been in a car accident you should ask a trusted friend what he thought of the attorney he used for his personal injury claim.  Ask about the lawyer’s communication skills, experience, personality, support staff, and anything else that is important to you.

If you don’t personally know anyone who has experience working with a lawyer you can ask the bar association for a referral, or use online databases such as Avvo and Martindale-Hubble to research potential candidates and read consumer reviews.

But remember to take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt.

Everyone’s case is different, so you can’t expect to have the exact same results as your friends.  A personal recommendation or internet review is a great place to start, but it should not be the only factor you consider.

Take advantage of the free consultation.

If an attorney offers a free consultation use that time not only to discuss your case but also to “interview” the attorney.  Don’t miss the opportunity to assess the attorney’s character, honesty, listening skills, and communication style to see if the firm is a good fit for you.  Ask about fee arrangement options, potential timelines for completed work and the lawyer’s experience working on cases like yours.  Ask about your case’s potential for a successful outcome, but be wary of an attorney who promises or guarantees any particular result.

Depending on your legal issue, your relationship with your attorney could last a long time.

Depending on the type of legal issue you have, you may end up working with your attorney for months or even years. That’s why it’s crucial to find a lawyer you get along with and can have confidence in.

Our attorneys are always happy to speak with you, and for many types of cases can give you a free consultation.  Call us today at 205-553-5353 and let’s discuss how we can assist you.

Hourly Fee vs. Contingent Fee

As is the case with doctors, carpenters, mechanics and just about every other occupation, attorneys typically charge a fee for their work.

Sometimes clients are charged an hourly fee for work their lawyer performs. The hourly rate lawyers charge can vary considerably depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the experience of the lawyer and even geography (a lawyer in New York City will have a higher hourly rate than a lawyer in a small, rural town).

Lawyers working on an hourly basis will commonly charge a retainer.

A retainer is an advance payment that is deposited with the attorney and against which the attorney will bill his time. If the retainer is used up, the client is usually billed monthly for any excess. If the retainer isn’t fully used it is refunded. A lawyer working on an hourly basis will charge you for all of the time he or she spends working on your case. If you hire a lawyer to represent you on an hourly basis, you will owe him money whether you win or lose your case.

Criminal matters and divorces are examples of cases which are often handled on an hourly basis.

Other times, a lawyer will agree to charge the client a contingent fee.

In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of what the client receives.

If your lawyer is representing you on a contingent fee basis, his fee comes out of your recovery. If you lose, neither you nor your lawyer will get any money and you will not be required to pay your attorney for the work he did on your case.

Many clients believe there are advantages to a contingency fee arrangement over an hourly fee. The most obvious example is that the lawyer only receives a fee if he wins the case. This sort of arrangement can be especially attractive when there may be questions about liability or where it appears obvious that the prosecution of the case will take considerable time. Another advantage of a contingent fee arrangement is that it enables clients with limited financial resources to obtain quality legal representation which they might otherwise be unable to afford.

Most personal injury and workers’ compensation cases are handled by lawyers for a contingent fee.

Talk with your lawyer about the fee arrangement that is right for you.  The attorneys of Lewis, Lewis & Falkner are happy to speak with you about fee options.  Call us at 205-553-5353 or come by our Tuscaloosa office today.