Three questions to ask about the cost of legal services

Questions to askTo provide transparency in working with attorneys, our second post in our five-part blog services discusses the cost of legal services. The cost can depend on a number of factors, including the type of service, individual details of the case, and how events develop. Below are three questions to ask your attorney to help ensure you understand the cost of services and how you will be charged.

Is there a charge for a consultation?

Finding the attorney who is right for you and the service you need is important. A consultation can help you find the attorney who provides the services you need. Some provide a free consultation and others charge. Some may offer the first 30 minutes free then charge for time above that. Make sure you know the cost, and then make the most of the consultation by being prepared. Organize documents to minimize the follow up required to provide the attorney with the necessary information to understand your case and best represent you.

 

How are services invoiced?

Attorneys are paid for providing their time, knowledge, and services. The method used to charge for services may vary as a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or a contingency fee arrangement. The fee may be fixed writing a simple will, but the charge may be an hourly rate for a probate service that involves the administration of a will. Once you identify the scope of the legal help you need, clarify the terms of that agreement so you understand the fee agreement and the terms of payment and representation. There may sometimes be other expenses related to research or if there are changes in the scope of work. The more background information you can provide in terms of details, documents and updates will help you establish an accurate estimate for costs while also maintaining the most effective partnership with your attorney.

 

How are changes in costs communicated?

A case can become more complicated based on new information or developments. In these cases, costs may change. A divorce settlement that was expected to be amicable can become more difficult if those involved fail to agree or stop cooperating. Your attorney can outline changes that might be expected and how likely those may be to provide a range of costs and what is and is not included to minimize surprises, especially if the case takes longer to complete than expected.

 

Watch for our next post in this series that shares how working with the right attorney can help you navigate the complicated nature of litigation. Contact us if we can help you with your legal needs.

Common myths about attorneys debunked

There may be more jokes about attorneys than they are attorneys who have passed the bar exam. In all seriousness, there is a lot of misinformation about the roles, character, and strategies of attorneys. Your attorney is your legal advocate committed to helping you obtain justice, and it is critical to trust your attorney and his or her integrity.

Dagger Law. Local. Trusted. ExperiencedWe’re kicking off the first post in a five-part series focused on providing a more accurate picture of working attorneys by debunking three common myths.

Myth: Attorneys are vague about costs

Attorneys strive to be transparent in their pricing structures and billing. Depending on the case, legal fees may be structured to be billing at an hourly rate, a flat fee, a retainer, or a contingency fee (a percent of your award). A consultation is typically free or a nominal charge that enables you to share information about your needs and find out about charges and your expected financial commitment. Attorneys want you to be an informed and empowered part of the process, and changes in the scope should be communicated so you are not surprised when you receive an invoice.

Myth: Attorneys enjoy life difficulties

Attorneys do not take pleasure in the hardships of a client, such as jail time, bankruptcy, and divorce. Situations often include difficult and life-altering circumstances that are fraught with challenges. Most attorneys choose the career because they genuinely want to help, and not because they want to take advantage of your situation.

Myth: Attorneys delay progress

Your attorney will likely spend a lot of time working on your case that does not involve meetings or potentially even updates. Research that occurs behind the scenes includes many hours that may not be visible to you, but yet are important to preparing your case. In litigation, the timeline for next steps and decisions is rarely within the control of the attorney. Unfortunately, sometimes there is just not much that can be done to speed the process of the court system. Be patient and trust you will be updated as soon as there is information to share.

Contact to get connected to honest, hardworking attorneys who will stand up for you. Check back soon for our next post in this series that seeks to provide a more accurate look at working with attorneys with a discussion about the cost of legal services.

 

3 Tips if You’re Involved in a Car Accident

In 2017, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported that there were more than 303,000 traffic crashes and more than 108,000 of those resulted in some injury to the involved parties.

Jacob Cook's car after a head on accidentThese are staggering numbers, and, unfortunately, that means that many of us are going to experience this traumatic event; whether that is personally being involved in an accident or knowing someone who was involved.

Do you know what to do if you, or a loved one, are involved in an accident?

Dagger Law attorneys recommend the following as a quick checklist:
1) Report the accident immediately. Ensure that police and, if needed, emergency medical services are called, at a minimum.
2) Start keeping records. Take pictures, get statements, ask for a copy of the police report, and get the other driver’s insurance information. All of this information will be important for your insurance settlement, or evidence if there is a court appearance required.
3) Protect your rights! This is very important; do not admit fault, do not give a statement to your insurance company, and contact an attorney at your earliest convenience. An attorney who is familiar with auto and truck accidents will know how to best protect your rights and preserve your best chance for a fair settlement from an insurance company.

Recognizing Fake Emails

Has anyone ever told you that they got a weird email from you; one that you never sent? Often it tells them to click a link or directs them to send money.

Cyber crime awareness

This is an internet scam called email spoofing. While the emails appear to be from you, or from somebody you know, this is usually just a cleverly disguised forgery and not an indicator that your email has been hacked. It is similar to someone standing around the corner from you and mimicking your best friend’s voice while asking you to toss $20 around the corner to them. Most of us would want to peek around the corner and verify that our friend was standing there.

That can be a bit more difficult with an email.

So, what can you do?

The first thing to remember is that things that seem fishy usually are. We encourage you to trust your gut. Look at the way a person talks. Is the use of language odd? Most people write in a manner similar to spoken English. While writing may be more formal, it is still largely conversational. When is the last time your dad asked you to “Please kindly” anything? Or has your boss ever “Anticipated your early response?” These aren’t phrases that we commonly use when speaking to one another, even if we can understand the meaning of them. In these cases, what you are most likely viewing are the idiosyncrasies of translating one language into another. If you still aren’t sure if the email is real, we recommend calling the person to verify the email contents.

Don’t respond to the email directly as this can potentially create other problems. Sometimes emails are sent with the hopes of finding a verifiable connection. A little like the old game of Marco Polo. If the scammer says “Marco” and you respond “Polo” then they know someone is there to be a target. If the scammer says Marco, and nobody answers, they will be more likely to move on until they hear a response. While computer scams can be driven by technology such as viruses, trojan horses, worms and spyware, a lot of tricking you into something simply relies on manipulation and social engineering. It is simply best not to respond. 

In some instances, you can see what the originating email address actually is. In the “From:” line you would see what appears to be your friend’s email address, followed by a second email in “<…>” markings such as From: Mom@hugs.com <notmom@badguy.com>. In this case, you can block “not mom” without actually blocking your real mom.

We hope these tips help protect you from potential scams, but if you suspect that you have been the victim of a scam we recommend that you contact your telecom or IT provider, and file a police report. This will ensure that any malicious code is blocked in the future, and any crimes are reported to the proper authorities. 

Compiled and written by Andrew Cook, Operations Manager for Dagger Law. Last updated 14 July 2020.

When Life Gives You Lemons, We Can Help

We have all heard the old saying that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. While we all love an upbeat outlook on life, the truth of the matter is that some piles of lemons are just bigger than others, and sometimes you don’t want lemonade.

When life gives you legal lemonsAlmost any time you need an attorney, your life is in full lemon mode. At Dagger Law, we understand that, and we pride ourselves on being able to clear as many lemons as possible from your life.

Sometimes those lemons look like a spouse that wants a divorce, sometimes they are in the form of an injury from a car accident, or perhaps it is the passing of a loved one.

Whatever your lemons look like, our experienced attorneys are here to assist.