What kind of lawyer do I need?

One of the toughest decisions a person with a legal problem has to make is figuring out what kind of lawyer they need.  Getting the right type of lawyer makes a huge difference in the quality of legal representation received.  The problem, however, is that there a number of different areas of law, and there are also different types of legal work.  Below I discuss some considerations you should take into account to make sure you find a lawyer that fits your needs.

Transactional Attorneys vs. Litigators

To start, do you have a question about planning or a question about fighting something in court or in administrative hearings?  Lawyers who work on estate plans, business plans, and contract drafting are transactional attorneys.  They have expertise in drafting documents for businesses and individuals that cover a wide variety of situations before a problem arises or in anticipation of a future problem.  Wills and trusts are a classic example of documents that transactional lawyers are well-suited to prepare.  

If a problem has arisen, and you have a court date or a court date will soon be set, you need a litigator.  Litigators are lawyers who go to court on a daily or weekly basis to present arguments to judges.  Litigators are also lawyers who work on negotiating settlements in and out of court.  For example, if you’ve been in a car accident, your case may settle out of court due to a settlement agreement, or it may go to trial because the amount desired by the injured party is not being offered by the party that caused the injury.  In either event, a litigator is the right type of lawyer for that situation.

Determine the Practice Area

Once you’ve determined the type of lawyer you need, you need to make sure you find a lawyer who is familiar with the particular area or areas of law into which your problem falls.  For example, if you’ve been charged with a criminal charge, you do not want to hire a lawyer who only practices in contract disputes or business litigation.  This is because today’s legal system is heavily regulated by laws passed by federal and state legislators. As a result, attorneys often specialize in one or a few areas of law.  It is highly unlikely that you will find a lawyer who practices in all the civil and all the criminal areas of law because it is too difficult to keep up with all of the changes in each area of the law.

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Attorney and Law Firm Experience

Another consideration when choosing a lawyer is experience.  However, experience isn’t merely the number of years a lawyer has been in practice.  Because the legal landscape changes quickly due to governmental regulation and court opinions, lawyers must keep up with the changes.  It is important to find attorneys who not only have experience in the particular area of law your issue deals with, but who also maintain knowledge of the changes in that area. 

Greenspun Shapiro’s Attorneys

At Greenspun Shapiro PC we are litigators.  Members of our firm regularly appear in courts throughout the Northern Virginia area, which includes the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia (federal courts), the Counties of Stafford, Loudoun, Prince William, Fairfax, and Arlington, the Cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, and Alexandria, and the Towns of Herndon and Vienna.  We also regularly handle medical malpractice, personal injury, contract dispute, and other civil torts, such as defamation, intentional assaults and injuries, and criminal cases.  And, we regularly attend a wide range of continuing legal education courses to keep up with the changes in the areas we practice.  Moreover, if we do not handle a particular area of law, our goal is to connect you with someone who can.  If you have a legal question or may need a litigator, do not hesitate to call our Fairfax law office. We are always happy to answer questions, and if we cannot help, we probably know someone who can.

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Mikhail N. Lopez
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Criminal Defense and General Civil Litigation Attorney