The purpose of employment law is to determine how employers and employees work together. California state law regulates the interactions between employers and employees. Everything from sexual harassment to payment disputes and a company’s termination of an employee fall under employment law. Whether you are an employer or an employee, you may find yourself in need of an employment lawyer.
If you already know a lawyer, but not one who specializes in employment law, ask her for a referral. West Coast employment lawyers know the reputations of other lawyers and will guide you to a respectable one.
The California State Bar has a lawyer referral service that can assist you in finding a lawyer. Select the county closest to you and you will find several lawyer referral services that you may contact.
There are also trade organizations dedicated to employment law such as The National Employment Lawyers Association. They have a form you may use to search for a lawyer in California. You may also tick several checkboxes to search for employers with specific areas of experience.
California also has The California Employment Lawyers Association. By clicking on the search button, you may search for California lawyers specialized in employment law. However, after you have found several West Coast Employment lawyers to choose from, you will want to ask several questions to determine which one is the best.
Is She A Licensed California Lawyer With Experience With Your Specific Legal Issue?
Your employment attorney must carry a license to practice law in California. Due to the complexity of employment law, the first step in finding an employment lawyer is to determine if his primary experience is in defending employees or employers. Then, you will need to find out whether the attorney has experience with the legal issue you are grappling with.
For example, if you are pursuing legal action against an employer who you believe discriminated against you, interview several California lawyers to determine if any of them have experience in this area of law. If you are an employer who is trying to shield himself from liability when terminating an employee, you will need a California lawyer with a different background.
Is Your Lawyer Experienced?
While you might want to give an inexperienced lawyer a try, inexperienced lawyers are usually not prepared to take on a major employment case because they will not know the common hurdles that may emerge and how to overcome them.
Is She Certified In Employment Law?
California State University has an employment law certificate course. If you are trying to decide between two lawyers, an employment law certification can help you differentiate between the two.
Has The Lawyer Committed Any Ethics Violations?
Fortunately, you can easily search for a lawyer to determine if she has committed any ethics violations. Simply enter the attorney name or bar number. You may discover if the California employment lawyer has misappropriated client funds or has engaged in grossly negligent representation. There are also websites dedicated to reviewing lawyers.
Has She Kept Up To Date With Employment Law?
California state and federal laws frequently update employment law. Federal agencies and organizations have rules that change routinely, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ask your attorney about the procedure she follows for keeping up-to-date on employment law.
Does She Have An Upfront Fee Arrangement?
A good lawyer will be upfront with the fees you should expect while working for her. Ask about how the California employment attorney will bill you and whether there are any other costs.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee for a specific service. Those who represent an employer are more likely to charge by the hour. Less commonly, the attorney may ask for a percentage of the proceeds from a settlement or judgment in court. This is less common because employers usually do not win proceeds in employment law cases. Then, a retainer is a monthly fee you will pay the California employment attorney with extra charges for special services such as defending a case in court.
Have You Met With Your Lawyer?
Most lawyers provide a free initial consultation. Bring any important documents such as your employment contract.
Some lawyers are very busy and may wish to perform much of their communications by telephone or email. However, you should meet with your attorney regularly in person because this is the best way to build rapport as you ask questions. You should not feel like you are being handed off to an office worker either. Most lawyers will have employees who assist them, but the lawyer should manage your case.
Find out if your lawyer specializes in employment law and ask about the specific cases he or she has handled. While the lawyer will not give you specifics about the case, you can receive a general preview of what you can expect.
Ask your lawyer about what percentage of cases go to court vs. those that are settled. Ask about what percentage of the attorney’s practice is devoted to employment law. Also, ask the lawyer about how much of your case she will handle and how much of the case will be handed to paralegals.
Does Your Lawyer Seem Knowledgeable About Your Case?
Your lawyer usually must provide you with confidentiality regarding your case, but verify that this is the case. If you are dealing with a discrimination case, for example, provide a timeline for everything that happened and explain why you believe it was discriminatory. The lawyer should ask questions about your case so she can determine where the strengths and weaknesses of your case lie. Your lawyer will also explain how you will handle your dispute.
When you speak to your lawyer in the future, find out if she is familiar with your case. If your lawyer appears to have forgotten about the basics of your case, it may not be receiving the attention it deserves. But with a great employment layer, your case will be his or her primary focus.