Things to Consider When Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

A family law lawyer specializes in matters relating to issues that surround the family. These can include marriage, divorce, child support, spousal alimony, guardianship, adoption, domestic violence and child abuse.

Choosing a family law lawyer is an important decision, especially when dealing with child abuse and domestic violence. These legal issues are highly-charged events that require attorneys who are well-versed in domestic relations law and child advocacy.

Divorce can also be an emotionally-volatile arena that requires lawyers who can help both parties work through their differences while obtaining a fair settlement. When children are involved it is important to work with attorneys who will fight for the rights of minor children to ensure adequate child support is provided.

Issues related to family law often require clients to work closely with their chosen lawyer. It is best to determine what qualities you prefer before interviewing attorneys. Do you prefer a male or female lawyer? Do you require an aggressive attorney or one who remains calm? Do you need a lawyer with years of experience of would a recent law school graduate suffice?

It can be helpful to create a list of questions, concerns, and the desired outcome. Organize all records pertaining to the legal issue. For example, divorce lawyers will require financial records, real estate deeds, automobile titles, current and previous years’ tax returns, and information surrounding minor children.

It can be beneficial to interview three or more attorneys to determine which is best suited for your needs. Most law firms offer gratis meet-and-greet consultations while others assess a minimal fee. When arranging appointments inquire about initial consultation fees and what documents should be brought to the meeting.

During the meeting it is important to determine cost estimates. Family law lawyers normally require clients to provide an upfront retainer. This typically ranges between 25- and 50-percent of expected costs.

Legal fees are usually assessed at an hourly rate, but some cases are charged as a flat fee. Cases requiring extensive research and court appearances are typically billed hourly. Cases involving minimal work, such as a legal name change, are billed at a flat rate.

Law firms also assess backend fees to cover the cost of phone consultations, court filing fees, copying and faxing documents, and postage fees. Some attorneys deduct these costs from the retainer, while others remit monthly invoices.

The majority of family law lawyers require payment at the time services are rendered. However, some will allow clients to develop a payment plan. It is important to determine payment schedules to ensure you can comply. When payment plans are allowed, it is smart to obtain the plan in writing so that all parties understand payment amounts and due dates.

Individuals who require services from a family law lawyer, but cannot afford legal fees may qualify for pro bono services. Much depends on earned income and circumstances surrounding the case.

If possible, obtain family law lawyer referrals from family or friends. This can minimize time spent searching for or consulting with attorneys. Those unable to obtain referrals can utilize the Internet or telephone directories to locate law firms.

Another source for locating reputable attorneys is the American Bar Association website at abanet.org. The ABA does not offer recommendations, but instead publish a list of nationwide family law lawyers who are in good standing with the organization.

Becoming an English Solicitor – The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS)

English law is held in high esteem; London is among the leading legal cities in the world; and talented and qualified lawyers continue to seek to become English solicitors.

Job prospects are decent for lawyers in the UK and by becoming an English solicitor, you increase your employability. Once qualified, you will be able to practise law cross-border, finding employment in England, Europe and further afield in countries including Australia, South Africa and Russia. In addition, you broaden your professional knowledge, understanding and experience which similarly broadens your career prospects.

As a qualified English solicitor, you will be in a stronger position to offer your existing and future clients more legal services. As well as finding employment as a solicitor in England and Wales, your wider career prospects are enhanced when you gain the QLTS. You may choose to practise law in your home jurisdiction, in which case you will benefit from an improved professional track-record and marketability. Or work as an English solicitor in London. Or perhaps even find a role in an international law firm which has a base in the EU, and live and work anywhere in the world.

Whichever career path is right for you, being an English solicitor will bring you more business and greater financial rewards. And this is enhanced by the high standard of competence associated with newly qualified solicitors of England and Wales thanks to the method of assessment – whether you choose the fast-track QLTS route or the domestic route.

Under the existing Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme, the QLTS (previously, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test, the QLTT), international lawyers as well as barristers in England and Wales, are assessed to ensure they meet the necessary standards required to practise English law. Those admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales through the QLTS have an even greater professional profile thanks to this high level of testing.

The QLTS training places international lawyers on a par with domestic lawyers, making for a more level playing field. The same standard expected of domestic lawyers is expected from overseas lawyers wanting to apply for the QLTS and lawyers who pass the QLTS have the same level of competence as lawyers qualified to practise English law through the domestic route.

Now is certainly a good time to become an English solicitor, as the financial implications of the recession start to ease and the employment markets open up once more. The QLTS offers two major improvements to candidates compared to the QLTT – there is the English language test and the removal of the experience requirement. These are both positive developments for international lawyers wanting to train as English solicitors.

As a result of these enhancements to the QLTS, more confidence is instilled in successful candidates. There is rigorous testing of all applicants’ practical skills as part of the course. This ensures no one experiences discrimination as everyone is treated the same and assessed to the same standard – although of course because the means of testing is objective, issues regarding ages and disabilities of candidates will naturally be taken into consideration. Candidates who meet the necessary standard will be admitted as a solicitor of England and Wales. Clients will therefore know that all qualified English solicitors, regardless of their route to qualification, are competent and have the professional knowledge, skills, behaviours and ethics needed to perform legal duties well.

The QLTS is an affirmative step for all international lawyers, and barristers in England and Wales, seeking to train as English solicitors. The system is fairer but equally stringent and allows only the highest calibre of lawyers to pass the QLTS assessments.

If you want to become an English solicitor, a big factor in determining whether you’ll pass your QLTS course is the course provider itself. Without excellent teaching, informative materials, a support network, and experienced staff to guide you through, passing will be more difficult. The QLTS School programme offers a dedicated approach to the QLTS assessments – and because it’s completely focused on the one test, students really benefit from an array of advice and support that is always available.

The QLTS School is committed to helping international lawyers become English solicitors. Our website has information for every stage of the process, from what you need to do to be eligible for the QLTS to applying for the course. There is advice about careers, the benefits of practising English law, and guidance for every step of the course.

With over ten years’ experience and thousands of international lawyers who have successfully qualified as English solicitors, the QLTS School has an excellent reputation and a high candidate pass rate. The QLTS course is comprehensive and convenient, and you will have all the materials you need to study – including distance learning courses, video and audio lectures, and access to the online study portal – and the freedom to study when it suits you. The study portal lets you communicate with other candidates, as well as access all the teaching tools including videos, audio and PowerPoint presentations.

Created by skilled legal professionals who have worked extensively with international lawyers and understand their needs, the QLTS School programme provides you with everything you need to pass your QLTS assessments and go on to enjoy an extensive career as an English solicitor.

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.