How to Hire Law Firms With Ease

Legal matters are something that strike the fear of God in most people’s hearts, because of the complications involved, not to mention the astronomical legal fees one can incur. Legal matters, however, can happen anytime, anywhere and while people know that they must be prepared for anything, it doesn’t erase the fact that it can be quite a daunting prospect and as such, something to be avoided as much as possible.

However, fears of anything new and unfamiliar can be conquered with a proper understanding and learning of the matter. Once you understand the ins and outs of hiring law firms you’ll find that there was actually nothing to be apprehensive about. You need to hire lawyers who are well-versed in the language of litigation.

First of all, determine all the possible reasons why you need to hire a law firm. Of course in addition to wanting your tough legal problem solved, you may also want to hire a law firm because you want to augment the legal team you already have in place to increase your chances of winning your case and at the same time let your adversary know that you are determined to win it. Hiring the best law firm also increases your confidence about winning the case because you have a lot of legal experts behind you. And more importantly, you want to be able to win your case without causing too much of a dent in your bank account.

The next thing you need to do is research. Start with legal directories that will help you shortlist the best lawyers within your area complete with phone numbers and background information. You can also try researching online for law firm rankings, that rank the best law firms according to practice, diversity and region. Of course this will all depend on what type of case you have and the details involved.

A law firm’s expertise is based mostly on the fact that they hire the best graduates from top law schools. Since a lawyer’s core worth is based on his intelligence, knowledge and experience, you will increase your chances of winning your case since they will be updated on all the latest nuances of the law and be able to keep up their end of the defense with facts and figures relevant to your case.

While price is a major consideration, remember that the costs you incur will depend on the size of the law firm you need and want to hire. Solo practitioners usually entail lower costs and fees, small firms usually entail lower costs and more personal interaction, mid-size firms usually have more legal resources and therefore the ability to address your legal issues more effectively and large firms are what you need for larger and more complex legal concerns. When you go online, the best legal websites will have all the necessary information posted.

You will also need to check if the websites have posted their accreditation and certification and have very thorough information about their lawyers’ specialties. There are law firms that allow you to download reports and white papers on very popular legal topics, ones that their previous clients have been through so you can get more insights on your particular case and how it could turn out. The more information you have, the more empowered you feel so go for sites that also offer tips and advice on going through difficult legal matters and how to deal after the smoke clears.

And lastly, go for law firms that are able to explain things in a language you’ll understand. Forget about law firms that go technical, it is important to find one that provides personalized service and are very responsive – one who will actually return your calls because they understand time constraints and value your time as much as they value theirs. While most law firms put on an impersonal façade that they mistake as professionalism, a true indication of a competent and able law firm is one that shows the human side of the legal profession. Clear cut and straightforward about the law but at the same time, showing a sympathetic side.

It is easy to feel daunted or intimidated when you enter a legal situation where you need to hire law firms to get you out of it. As long as you know what you need and want and what to expect, hiring lawyers to champion your cause won’t feel so challenging.

How To Get Probation For a Crime in Tennessee

For an individual charged with a crime, one of the biggest concerns will be what happens to them if convicted. The basic outcomes of a conviction are either a sentence of jail time, or an alternative sentence such as probation.

In Tennessee, qualified offenders will be eligible for probation, meaning they can avoid going to jail. However, probation can come with strict conditions, and it can be costly. The criteria for receiving probation in Tennessee are found in the Tennessee Code Annotated Title 40, Chapter 35, Part 3.

Under Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-303, first-time offenders will be able to receive probation on just about any non-violent or drug related offense, including both misdemeanors and felonies. Crimes such as drug possession (with or without intent to sell or deliver), DUI, theft, vandalism, forgery, fraud, assault, and burglary are all probation eligible. Violent crimes such as first and second degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and many sex crimes are not. If you are charged with a crime in Tennessee, you should contact a Tennessee criminal defense lawyer to review your case and assess your chances of getting probation if convicted.

Here’s how you get probation for a criminal offense in Tennessee: you have to ask the judge. Under Tennessee Code 40-35-302, first you must plead guilty (or you are found guilty by a jury following trial), then you have a sentencing hearing where your attorney would petition the court and present evidence on your behalf as to why you would be a good candidate for probation. First offenders charged with non-violent offenses are eligible for probation, but they are not necessarily entitled to it. The law merely gives you the chance. You still must convince the judge.

At the sentencing hearing, it probably would be wise to testify for yourself, to explain your involvement in the offense and show that you have taken responsibility for it. Honesty and remorse are very important to a judge in deciding whether to grant an alternative sentence. You may also want to have someone who knows you, such as a family member or priest, testify as a character witness. If you are employed, you will want to tell the judge and possibly show employment records. Having a job can greatly improve your chances of receiving probation.

If you are granted probation, it will begin immediately. The judge can put in place any number of conditions, including a curfew, random and frequent drug tests, community service, and restitution. Failure to follow or complete these conditions, or getting arrested again, would be grounds for a probation violation and would send you to jail. However, if you do what you’re required to do and obey the law, this won’t happen.

Is the Crime Rate Actually Dropping?

The FBI now has a report out on 2009’s crime rate compared to 2008. According to this report, violent crime is dropping in the 4 main categories:

1. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter, which is the willful killing of one person by another dropped 7.2%

2. Forcible rape decreased 3.1%

3. Robbery dropped 8.1%

4. Aggravated assault declined 4.2%

The larger cities in the United States seemed to have the largest percentage of decline in murders, whereas the smaller cities actually had a slight rise. There was also a slight rise in forced rapes in non-metropolitan areas, but in the larger cities and in all other categories there was a decline compared to 2008.

Now for the big question: What is causing the decline? As much as I would like to, I can’t bring myself to believe that criminal behavior is changing, that criminals are having a change of heart and becoming honest citizens.

I do believe, however, that more citizens are fighting back and doing more to protect themselves and their private property.

  • There are more neighborhood watches, making people suspicious of strangers in their neighborhoods and keeping an eye on each other’s homes.
  • More families are installing security devices in their homes to ward off intruders.
  • Kids are being taught self-defense and carrying cell phones and personal alarms to attract attention if they are being harassed by a stranger.
  • Women are carrying pepper spray and stun guns to decrease their chances of being attacked.
  • Surveillance cameras are in most businesses so robbers are aware they will be caught on tape.
  • Hidden cameras can now be set up in homes if a babysitter is suspected of stealing or abusing a child, stopping the situation before it gets out of control.
  • Dogs are becoming more a part of the family, protecting the home and property when the family is away.
  • Cell phones give witnesses a quick line to authorities if they observe a crime in progress so criminals are easier to catch in the act.
  • Vehicles are being made more difficult to break into.
  • Advances in forensic technology helps catch and convict more criminals.

I think criminals know that law abiding citizens are getting fed up and are more willing to fight back than in the past. It is not unusual for late night store employees to have some kind of protection device such as pepper spray, a stun gun or even a lethal firearm close by if needed, plus camera surveillance.

It is unfortunate that we have to be so alert, so aware of our safety in every situation, looking over our shoulders or out of the corners of our eyes for anything suspicious. But it may be what is working to bring down violent crime.

However, in spite of the fact that violent crime seems to be decreasing slightly, it isn’t that there are fewer criminals out there. I think it is just that they are meeting with resistance that was not present several years ago. They are running into technology and angry home owners, kids who know not to talk to strangers and who know what to do if approached by a stranger, women who know self-defense and carry self-defense weapons.

It’s getting tougher for the criminals. Maybe some are having second thoughts. Maybe some are actually realizing it isn’t worth the risk of getting caught and are turning their lives around for the better. Unfortunately they will never go away completely. However, we can continue our fight against them, continue to stay one step ahead of them and hope the occurrences of violent crime continue to decline.

Understanding the Lawyers on Retainer Concept

In this life, people cannot do without the services of a good lawyer. Crime happens everyday around us. Sometimes we find ourselves in rare situations that make us suffer unfairly. Other personal circumstances such as bankruptcy, real estates and mortgage force us to hire lawyers. In one word, good lawyers are very imperative. Dealing with lawyers is not a simple thing. Many issues concerning hiring lawyers are crucial and they come first. For example, you many find yourself hiring lawyers on retainer. These lawyers are not any different from those you know.

The lawyers only ask for a retainer fee so that they can give you their services. What is a retainer fee? This type of a fee is on hourly basis. It is different from the normal charges you pay a lawyer because of defending your position in court. They include the following:

• Consultation fees – Before you can start working with a given lawyer, you have to set a few appointments with him or her.

• Research work – After listening to your side of story, your lawyer spends some time doing research to help you. You will have to pay for his or her time.

• Interviews – as the lawyer studies your case, you and him or her will look for possible witnesses. Then, your lawyer has to conduct an interview with each witness. Most lawyers want to receive a pay for their time.

Lawyers on retainer want only to ascertain your seriousness in the entire procedure. That is why they will ask for a specific deposit first. When looking for this kind of a lawyer, examine your budget first. Most people desire to save up money in legal matters as much as possible. You should look for a cheaper hourly rate lawyer. Some people do not take it kindly. However, if you think about it, you put aside huge amounts of money as down payment for the assets you love.

If you plan to hire a lawyer about a case related to the same assets, you should not feel bad if ask to pay a retainer fee. A retainer fee is just a small deposit compared to other types you have paid before. The more you refuse to pay the fee, the more you delay your justice. Even so, take your time to select a good lawyer. There is a big chance that you will sort out good lawyers from bad lawyers if you take your time. When you find a good lawyer, make sure that all retainer agreements are in writing.

Then you and your lawyer should sign the document. This is a good way of building a relationship with the attorney. The document should demonstrate how the lawyer allocates the money through out the legal procedure. You should not work with any lawyers on retainer if they cannot follow the document stipulating your agreements. The best place to look for these lawyers is the Internet. Many lawyers who could proof their expertise exist.