Regardless of which type of legal aid you require, the attorneys at Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire are your answer. Our firm is home to the best
lawyers in Georgia, each with their own legal specialty and years of personal experience in their field. From business law to creating a last will and testament, our broad range of legal knowledge and expertise make us the only
Georgia attorneysyou will ever need.
When You Need an Attorney
Life is filled with events that define, shape, and change us. Some of these events are planned and some come as a surprise. Whether they are pleasant or not, however, many of these events bring with them the need for legal expertise.
For example, launching a business can be quite an exciting, positive, and hope-filled life event. It can also turn into a nightmare if you fail to go through all of the appropriate legal channels for setting up a business, deciding which type of business model you will be, and getting all of your financial and tax information set up properly.
A business can become a noose if you fail to realize that accidents that occur on your property could come back to seize your personal assets unless you create a legal entity that protects you, such as a corporation. Many, many aspects of owning and operating a business require the best attorneys you can find, whether you realize it or not.
Of course, business and corporate law is only one small drop in the virtual sea of legal issues a person may face. Other brief examples of times in which you’ll need a stellar attorney include:
While this list may seem overwhelming, it only scratches the surface of the vast entity that is the law. No single person could ever hope to be an expert in every complex area of law, but a single law firm can. It only needs to include a diverse set of attorneys who have dedicated their career to being the best in their area of expertise.
Why You Would Want a Single Law Firm
A premium law firm that can serve every legal need you’ll ever have comes with a host of advantages. It is much like choosing one insurance company to carry your home, auto, life, and other insurance policies. You have the opportunity to build a real relationship with the people of the firm, where you know them and they know you and your background.
No, you won’t have the exact same lawyer for your personal injury case that you had to handle your last will and testament, and you shouldn’t. You will, however, have an attorney from within the same family of lawyers, so there will already be a great deal of trust and rapport between you.
Suppose you have one trusted attorney whom you’ve used to help you set up your business. You now have a family law issue and you want the same attorney because you trust him or her. This attorney, if he or she is ethical, will refuse your case because he or she does not have the experience or expertise to represent you effectively. He or she will refer you to another firm whom he or she trusts.
When you have chosen a premium law firm, on the other hand, your trusted attorney does not have to go outside the office to connect you with a person he or she trusts. He or she simply needs to send you down the hall to his or her colleague. How much more convenient and simple could it be?
Understanding the Need for Legal Representation
As has been established, the law is vast and complex. Attorneys are not only for those charged with crimes or facing time in prison. Attorneys help us understand our rights as they are given, no matter which side of a legal issue we’re on. Then they go to work protecting those rights in a way that only an expert can.
Take, for example, your rights when arrested. Most people are familiar with a basic version of the Miranda warning thanks to popular television shows and movies. The right to remain silent and the right to an attorney seem like fairly common knowledge.
However, a survey conducted in Texas on undergraduate students showed that perhaps all Americans are not nearly as familiar with their rights as we’d like to think. Miranda warnings vary from district to district, with close to 900 variations on wording. To make matters worse, the most basic aspects of these rights are easy to misunderstand.
For example, many people know that they have a right to have an attorney present, but don’t understand that a court appointed attorney is free. They waive the right to legal counsel because they feel they can’t afford it, never fully understanding that everyone, regardless of financial circumstances, is entitled to an attorney if they’ll only ask for one.
This survey is an enlightening one and makes an excellent, albeit small example of exactly why everyone should have a trusted attorney on retainer. It’s difficult to understand the law, and more difficult still to be certain of what exactly your rights are. Without an expert on your side, you could inadvertently forfeit the most basic of rights, believing all the time that you never had them to begin with.
Choosing the Right Attorneys
Understanding that a premium law firm offers a number of benefits over smaller, more general firms is only the first step toward choosing the right attorneys. Just because a firm practices in a variety of areas doesn’t mean the attorneys in those fields are of the highest caliber. So how does one go about selecting the very best firm with the very best attorneys?
To begin, you might consider seeking out referrals. These can come from trusted neighbors, friends, family members, businesses in the community, or even the State Bar website. You should not make your final decision based on someone else’s opinion or recommendation, but gathering referrals will give you a group of names and firms to investigate further.
Of course, if there is one particular name or firm that seems to come up time and again as you seek out referrals, it’s a good bet that this name should be at the top of your list. When you have the list of attorneys you’d like to learn more about, it’s time to get into the thick of your research.
Find out if the attorney specializes in a field, or if the attorney runs a general practice. In general, you’ll want to avoid using a general lawyer for everything except the most cut and dry of issues; never use a general attorney to represent a complex matter that requires specialized experience and training. In the case of a premium law firm, you’ll want to find out who the specialist is rather than if there is a specialty, and then review that person’s credentials as follows.
Be sure that the attorney is certified to practice law in your state. Without proper authorization to practice, all of the education and experience in the world doesn’t make one whit of difference in the eyes of the court. If the attorney is legally able to represent you, find out about the lawyer’s experience with cases similar to yours.
Remember, years in practice does not always equate to years of experience as it is relevant to your case. A family law expert may have 30 or more years of experience in that field. However, he or she wouldn’t be able to represent a corporate matter nearly as competently as a young attorney with only a few years of experience could, provided that the young attorney’s experience was dedicated solely to corporate law.
Working with an Attorney
Regardless of which area of law you need help with, it’s important that you are able to work effectively with your chosen attorney. Hopefully by now you understand how vital it is to partner with a firm who provides experts in a variety of areas of law, and you’ve chosen the best attorneys in your area. To get the most out of the lawyer/client relationship, and to make your case or issue go as smoothly as possible, your attorney will need a certain amount of cooperation from you.
Because of that, it’s important that there is a solid understanding between you and your attorney at the onset of the case. You should understand what fees will be involved, how they will be billed, and exactly what those expenses will and will not cover. You should also understand the procedure in the event that your case experiences unforeseen expenses, and it’s important that you and your attorney agree on these points.
Your attorney may wish for you to be intimately involved in your case, or he or she may prefer that you simply provide all of the documentation and information available and then leave the rest to him or her. In either event, it is critical to the outcome of your issue that you give any and all information about your case to your attorney, no matter how irrelevant you may feel it is. Very small, seemingly insignificant items have been known to change the entire course of a case, so try not to assume anything is unimportant. Give it to your attorney and let him or her decide its relevance.
Make the most of your time with your attorney, whether it’s an in-office meeting or a telephone conference. Try to make a list of questions and concerns you have prior to your meeting so that you can be sure to touch on all topics. Most attorneys, especially those who are highly valued in their field, maintain very busy schedules. Your attorney will dedicate 100 percent of the time appointed to you with you, but he or she may not be able to get back with you right away if you forget to ask or tell something.
Above all, be sure that you and your attorney share the same goals with regard to your case, and that you understand how your attorney intends to meet those goals. If you are not on the same page, or you are not comfortable with the plan of action your attorney has devised, it may be time to schedule a meeting to evaluate the situation. Your attorney is an expert, and he or she may suggest things that don’t make sense to you. This is normal, but if there are aspects of your attorney’s strategy that you find morally or ethically questionable, it may be time to move on to another firm.
Putting it All Together
It is rare indeed for a person to go through his or her entire life without the need for some type of legal representation. Even if a person never has any type of legal trouble, marriage, the purchase of a home, and establishing a final will all need the services of a good attorney. Whether a person finds the right attorney for the situation, however is something else entirely.
Don’t assume that just because your legal need is common or simple that any old attorney will be fine. Even simple issues can be handled poorly, and can end up costing you a great deal more than they should in the end. Weigh out your options. A less expensive attorney or one with less experience may not come with as high of a bill as an attorney specializing in his or her field. However, what are the possible ramifications of allowing someone without adequate knowledge to handle your issue?
Finally, consider the advantages of partnering with a premium law firm over a small practice. Premium firms have many specialized attorneys to cover every aspect of the law, and these individual attorneys often have skilled assistants, associates, or team members who can respond to questions and concerns you have when your attorney is not immediately available.
Premium law firms also bring the benefit of one-stop shopping, if you will, for any legal issue you may ever face. Once you have established a relationship with the firm, you can rest assured that you have a trusted expert in your corner no matter what life brings your way. You may personally like one attorney over another within the firm, but you always know that you’re getting the best representation available regardless of personality preferences.
A Final Word
While some legal issues are highly complex and others are commonplace, no legal issue should ever be taken lightly. If it were an issue without the possibility of severe or expensive consequences when handled inappropriately, then it probably wouldn’t be a legal issue to begin with. After all, dropping a prepared tax return in the mail by a certain date is a relatively simple and straightforward process. Failing to do it within the required time frame, however, typically results in steep fees and even the possibility of criminal charges in certain circumstances. The same is true with virtually every aspect of the law.
It is impossible to anticipate every circumstance that may bring the need for a qualified attorney in your life. Moreover, there are few things more stressful and more able to bring anxiety to new levels than scrambling to find the best attorney while under legal pressure. Situations which require immediate legal representation can cause you to retain the first attorney you can find rather than the best attorney for you.
For that reason, it is prudent to interview firms before you have a pressing need for an attorney. This will allow you to evaluate your options in a relaxed manner, and gives you the opportunity to select the best attorneys based on qualifications and specialties—not on the desperate need for legal counsel.
At Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire, LLC, we pride ourselves on being the best attorneys in Georgia. We welcome you to discover the peace of mind that comes from having a skilled and qualified legal team in your corner, no matter what situation you may find yourself in. Don’t wait until your need becomes critical to find the best attorney for you. Establish a relationship today and know that the best legal help available is there for you—whenever you may need it.
Legal Information Institute, Commercial Law: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/commercial_law
Wikipedia, Elder Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_law
Federal Trade Commission, “Hiring a Lawyer”: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0180-hiring-lawyer
Georgia.gov, “Creating a Last Will and Testament”: http://georgia.gov/popular-topic/creating-last-will-and-testament
University of Texas, “If you are arrested, do you know your rights? Psychologist says most people don’t”: http://news.unt.edu/news-releases/if-you-are-arrested-do-you-know-your-rights-psychologist-says-most-people-dont