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Need A Lemon Law Attorney? Know What to Ask To Avoid A Sour Experience

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Need A Lemon Law Attorney? Know What to Ask To Avoid A Sour Experience

Paul Fleming
December 3, 2007

Choosing a Lemon Law Attorney may look easy, but to be certain of the right choice, it takes more than clicking a link of advertisements and search engine results. Select the wrong law firm and it can spell disaster for your case and your wallet. But if you ask the right questions, accept nothing less than answers that can be backed up with fact, and promise yourself to make no decision until you are confident in doing so, the chances of having a sour experience with a Lemon Law attorney can be cut down dramatically.

When hiring a lemon law attorney, it is very important that you ask questions and not rely solely on self-promoting advertisements and websites. Here are some items you should always consider:

* Experience - How long has the company been in business? Don't go by the date on the website, check the records. A company who has only been around for a couple of years may not have the proven track record that you need. For me, the risks are too high to be leaving it to inexperience.

* Honors, Awards and Recognition - Check for references such as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in attorney polls conducted by Law & Politics Magazine,and SJ Magazine.

* Locations - Beware of the fake office! Try calling the local phone number or stopping by sometime to make there is an office and real people.

Unfortunately, firms sometimes buy "addresses" to look more established and gain new business. We know of one firm that has no offices in many of the states they claim to practice in. If you see a little asterisk explaining that these are "of counsel" locations, it means they are not directly owned or operated by the law firm. Be as wary of the "of counsel" lawyer as you would be of the "of counsel" surgeon. Limited knowledge and lack of experience is often the hallmark of such arrangements and that could detrimentally affect your case.

* Credibility - In many states, lawyers are not permitted to use the terms "expert", "specialist", or "premier" in advertising because it gives the public an impression that cannot be verified by objective proof. Sadly, the rules are not always enforced and some firms use them anyway.

* Former Clients - From state senators, to judges, police, media personalities, professional athletes, doctors, religious leaders, fellow lawyers, musicians, union tradesmen, and most importantly, the average person and clients will come from all parts of society, from diverse economic groups and from all segments of society. Sometimes testimonials are available but often word of mouth is a great reference.

* Here are some questions you need to ask a lemon law firm:
- How long has the lawyer been practicing law?
- How long has the lawyer practiced Lemon Law?
- Does the lawyer have a license to practice in the client's state? (Very important)
- Has the lawyer received any recognition, honors or awards for work performed in the client's state?
- Has a successful verdict the lawyer tried ever been reported in a legal case reporter? If so, identify the case. (Read about us in our on-line newsroom).
- When was the last time the lawyer received a successful verdict in a Lemon Law case?
- Can the lawyer provide any references of other clients, attorneys, or judges in the client's state?
- If my case cannot be resolved right away, and a lawsuit is necessary, where would it be filed and why?
- How is the lawyer compensated?
- Is the client advised in writing at the start of the case what their rights and responsibilities are?
- Is a mechanical expert utilized by the law firm to help prove the case, and if so, is his/her involvement free to the client?
- What does the client need to do to assist the lawyer in a case?
- Does the lawyer have a physical office within the client's state?
- Is a lawyer and/or their staff available to speak with clients on a daily basis?

Even in law, there are questionable individuals and companies who are prepared to take your money and may misrepresent your case. Having a lemon vehicle is enough of a headache; the last thing you want is to go through more pain. Check credentials, ask questions, do a little research before connecting with a lemon law lawyer.

Paul Fleming represents the Lemon Law firm Kimmel & Silverman who have been providing cost-free, quality legal representation to distressed consumers of "lemon" cars since 1991. Contact them or visit their website at www.lemonlaw.com.

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