There are many factors to consider when hiring an employment lawyer. You normally only get once chance to choose the correct lawyer. Your employer will normally pay for an expensive experienced lawyer to represent the company in court or before an agency. You need an aggressive respected employment lawyer who will fight for you.
What experience is critical for employment law?
Experience matters. Employment lawyers who have prepared cases, argued cases before agencies, and argued cased before judges and juries have an advantage over newer lawyers and lawyers who just handle an occasional employment law case.
When a lawyer handles many cases over time, if they have the requisite competence of a good education and a dedication to helping people, the lawyer:
- Can explain whether you have a case. Experienced lawyers understand which laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the California Family Rights Act apply to your claim. These laws are the basis for filing a claim. Skilled lawyers don’t just know these laws exist; they know what evidence is needed to prove these laws. They know what arguments lawyers for the employers will assert to try to defeat your came. They understand which laws and legal arguments administrative law judges and civil court judges find persuasive.
- Understands what evidence, what rulings, what practical issues at the very start of your case can lead to a successful negotiation or a successful verdict. Often, cases are won by focusing on the right facts and the right legal arguments at the start. Inexperienced lawyers often miss key facts and arguments that skilled employer lawyers know.
- Understands what evidence is required. Skilled lawyers help you document your claim by asking to see employer records. These records include more than just your personnel records. The lawyer also seeks to know:
- If other employees have filed complaints against their employer and how were those cases resolved. A record of misconduct can help show the employer knew it was wrong. A record of misconduct can also help you find other witnesses who can support your claim.
- Did the employer have any notice of discrimination, harassment (sexual or otherwise). Employers often try to argue they didn’t know their employees or managers were acting improperly. If only they had known. Skilled lawyers fight aggressively to show the employers knew their staff wasn’t doing what they should.
- What proactive steps the employer was taking to comply with legal requirements. Most employers should have written policies and procedures in place that everyone understands.
- Understand the particular industries. It helps if your lawyer understands how human resources departments function. It helps if the attorney understands how construction workers, industrial workers, clerical workers, restaurant workers, and other businesses – hire, train, educate, and promote their workers. The more hands-on experience an employment lawyer has, the better he/she can understand how employers should behave.
Why understanding the legal process for each type of employment claim matters
Some claims can be tried in multiple jurisdictions. For example discrimination claims normally can be tried before the federal EEOC or the state DHEH. When the administrative remedies have been exhausted, jury cases can be tried in federal or state courts. There are pros and cons to which forum to use. A good employment lawyer understands which forum is best for your case.
Even when cases are only heard in one forum, it helps to understand the people involved in the claim. Judges, referees, defense lawyers, and employers all have their unique sets of priorities and considerations. For example, some judges may be known as generally favoring employees while others favor employers. Some judges may prefer that lawyers try to settle their cases. Other judges are always eager to hear what everyone says. Some employers may understand that if a verdict goes against them, that there are other employees who will also file claims.
In whistleblower cases brought by employees through the False Claims Act, it’s critical that your lawyer file the disclosure with the government at the right time. If you wait too long, another employee can file before you – denying your right to an award. If you file too early, the government may not be persuaded there’s enough evidence to intervene on the employee’s behalf.
How the lawyer tries to negotiate a settlement?
A skilled lawyer understands the pressure points that help settle a case or help obtain a better result. For example, many workers make the mistake of agreeing to the first severance agreement package they receive. A skilled lawyer will review your claim to see if you have any viable legal claims against the employer for violating any of your employee rights. If you do have a viable claim, that claim can be used to negotiate a stronger settlement.
A big part of the art of settling an employment claim is understating when to negotiate the settlement. Skilled lawyers understand that you need to prepare for a settlement just the way your prepare for a trial – by reviewing all the facts, speaking with witness, and understanding the best legal arguments for your case.
General factors in choosing an employment lawyer
Many employees choose a lawyer based on recommendations from family and friend. Employment law is unique in that, often, the best recommendations come from fellow employees or from employees who have suffered similar types of misconduct by their employer.
Results matter. Clients generally place their trust in lawyers such our California employment lawyers who have a strong track record of success in employment law cases. We have earned the praise and respect of our clients and the legal community for our toughness and our ability to argue your best case.
One starting place for choosing an employment lawyer is reviewing the law firm’s website. Lawyers who are dedicated to their clients write web content that explains the types of employment cases that can be filed and how the firm helps its clients.
At the California Law Offices of Stephen A. Danz and Associates, we have been fighting for employees (not employers) for more than 40 years. We have the respect of our peers and have obtained numerous strong settlements and verdicts. Our offices work with local independent counsel in many of the major counties across the state. To discuss a whistleblower claim, call us at 877-789-9707 or use our online contact form to make an appointment. Se habla espanol.