Take These Steps When You Have Been Served A Summons

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You may think you have a good reason for not responding to the summons you were served last month. At the time you received the summons you could not afford an attorney.


By time you were able to borrow enough money to hire an attorney it was more than a month past your required response date. Now you’re hoping the judge will accept your reason as a good excuse.


Unfortunately, since you failed to show for your original court date, there is almost nothing you can say that will persuade the judge in your favor. Judges are unbending when it comes to a defendant’s failure to appear.


If you had shown up for court and explained your money problems to the judge, he may have granted you what is called a “continuance,” which would have extended time to you in order to find and pay for an attorney.


If you have received a summons, it means that someone is suing you. Knowing what to do when you are served with a summons will help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that typically goes along with being sued.


Following are some steps to take when you are served with a summons, which will also be accompanied by the complaint. First and foremost is to take these two documents seriously because they are what begin any kind of litigation.


  • Contact a lawyer immediately – Do not drag your feet. Once you are served with the summons and complaint, you have twenty to thirty days to respond to the lawsuit. So note the date and time of service, then contact a lawyer as quickly as possible for several reasons.


  • If you procrastinate until a few days before the deadline to respond, your lawyer will be severely limited in his range of actions. If you should fail to respond on time, a default will be entered against you preventing you from defending the action altogether, unless the default is set aside, which will probably result in extra legal fees.


  • Scan any insurance policies – Sometimes insurance policies cover various allegations. Make copies of the policies for your attorney to evaluate. A policy might cover attorneys’ fees and costs of defending the lawsuit.


  • Understand the allegations  – Complaints often contain unfamiliar wording, so have your lawyer explain the allegations and consequences in terms that you can understand. If you fully comprehend the allegations, then you might be able to locate key documents and evidence for the attorney, saving on attorneys’ fees.


  • Preserve any evidence – Evidence takes on many forms: emails, receipts, timecards, or contracts, to name a few.  Regardless of the form, it is often central to your lawsuit. Therefore, once located, keep it in a safe place.


  • Pinpoint witnesses – Identify as many witnesses as possible — both good and bad — that witnessed the incidents alleged in the complaint.


  • Be discreet — When served with a summons and complaint, resist the emotional urge to call the complaining party or a friend. Instead call an attorney.


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How Difficult Can It be to open a law firm?

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You may have just passed your law exam and don’t know what the future holds for you. On the other hand, you may have been working for a big law firm for several years and have relatively good job security.


Regardless of your situation, you want to strike out on your own and start a law firm yourself. Both of you want to start a law firm for the same reason: you want to be your own boss. You both are also wondering the same thing: do you have what it takes?


Although there will be start-up costs, the greatest cost will be your emotional investment. Stress alone can lead to health issues, which during the initial

start-up phase you can’t afford to take the time required to deal with them.


You will be putting in long hours — not only at first, but later when you have a deposition due or need to prepare for trial. Job security will be totally on you, and income is sure to be low at first, which can weigh heavily on you, especially if you have a family or education loans.


It is very likely that there will be no money coming in to pay yourself a salary for some time. It typically takes from three to five years for an attorney’s business to break even. However, the encouraging news is that your own law office could be paying you a six-figure salary at the end of those years, but it won’t be an easy three to five years.


If you have been employed with a law firm, then you probably have an idea of what is involved in the daily operation of a law firm, although you may not know what it takes to start one from scratch. Of course, if you are a new law school graduate, you probably have very little knowledge of what is involved.


Following is a list of some items you will want to concentrate on.


  • Select a niche — It would be impossible for you to practice the one hundred-plus areas of law that exist today. From administrative law to international law to water law, with highly specialized niches like biotechnology law, cryptography law, and nationality law, your office should become proficient at practicing one of them.


  • Launch a law office website or law blog — These internet tools serve as another way to draw attention to your law office and to answer potential clients’ questions.

Prepare for a paperless office – The necessary software and technology will give clients state-of-the-art service.

  • Develop various plans – In today’s internet savvy world, a marketing plan is not enough. You will also need social media plan and networking plans.


  • Purchase malpractice insurance — Malpractice insurance will typically pay for your defense, plus any monetary fines.


  • Formulate a billing structure – Lawyers bill by the hour plus a various other ways: contingency fees, retainers, fixed fees, and estimated value.


  • Determine if you will need a physical office or a virtual law office.

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Two Decisions That May Cost Your Life If Charged With a Serious Crime

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When a person is charged with committing a crime, he will be confronted with making several important decisions. Two of these decisions involve hiring a lawyer and then choosing a jury trial or a bench trial.


Of course, anyone charged with a crime wants the best lawyer he can get. However, when he is charged with a serious crime that carries a life sentence or, even worse, the death penalty, he wants the best lawyer he can get, no matter how much he costs.


The lawyer’s competence is naturally of great concern, but of other concern is the price. Expensive attorneys charge a premium fee for a reason, which clients should be willing to pay for good reason.


A premium price enables lawyers to accomplish several objectives. Rather than merely taking on as many clients as possible in order to make a profit, a lawyer can focus on providing quality service that produces better results for his clients.


When your lawyer has sufficient time to concentrate on your case, it allows him to time to think “outside the box,” looking for innovative ways to defend you, which requires a great deal of time. So the fewer cases your lawyer handles, the more reason he will need to charge a premium fee.


By attempting to make money off of client volume a defense lawyer does his clients a disservice. It is illogical to think that an attorney can juggle hundreds of cases simultaneously and still give your case extraordinary service.


Therefore, do not let premium fees run you off. People who pay more usually receive excellent, personalized service. For instance, a lawyer who focuses on quality over quantity strives to give his client excellent customer service so that when you call the office, you can expect outstanding service from a dedicated staff.


Also, do not be fooled into believing you will receive quality service at a budget price. Hiring a criminal defense attorney at a budget price is risky, especially if you are charged with a serious crime that carries a life sentence or one punishable by death. Hiring the wrong lawyer could mean paying with your life.