Category Archives: Employee Info/Tips – Pre-Litigation – Hiring an Attorne

Dangers of Bad Message-Board Advice to “Go File a Legal Complaint With ______”

Internet message boards about legal issues can be helpful for (1) general educational information; (2) looking for attorneys who seem to know what they’re talking about, so you can contact one; and (3) familiarizing yourself with issues that you could raise with an attorney when discussing potential legal rights. But message boards are usually terrible places to get ADVICE to ACT upon.

One common example of terrible message-board “advice”: the adviser who reads your question and replies you should “Go file a legal complaint with [name of govt. agency, etc.].”  Often, such advice comes from non-attorneys.  Sometimes, even attorneys will make this horrific and flip message-board statement to “Go file a complaint…”: when an attorney does this, it’s almost always someone who doesn’t practice in the area of law they are talking about.

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Filed under Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Considering Compl, Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Hiring an Attorne

Why Pay an Attorney Consult Fee?

In the employee-rights legal field, it is common for attorneys to charge initial consultation fees in the hundreds of dollars. Some attorneys offer free consultations, although that depends on the attorney, their availability, the type of matter, etc. Such an attorney may set conditions on a free consult, e.g. it can only be by phone, or be under a certain time limit, etc.

My own practice at present is to not charge a fee for initial email or phone communications.  During those initial communications, I try to give a worker a sense of whether there are potential legal claims or issues I could assist with, and if so, whether it is the type of matter for which I could represent the worker on a contingency-fee basis, on another basis involving out-of-pocket fees.  But after the free initial communications, there are some matters for which I provide hours of advice, and charge hundreds of dollars for that advice.

Say an employee rights attorney wants to charge you by the hour for an initial office meeting, which may total several hours and, per market rates, may cost $150 to $500 or more.

Is such a fee worth it? My answer is yes. But I come from the biased perspective of an attorney who is paid fees. (Incidentally, most of my fees do not come from my worker-clients; the majority of earned fees come from via long-term litigation and contingency payments from opponents).  What matters about a consult fee is YOUR sense of value, and what YOU think of an attorneys’ reasons for that fee.  My reasons as to why a consult fee is worth it are listed below.

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Filed under Employee Info/Tips, Employee Info/Tips - Litigation - Mediation, Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Considering Compl, Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Hiring an Attorne

For Those in WI Considering a Do-It-Yourself Discrimination Complaint, Consider This…

On many occasions, employees have called me for advice afterthey have filed a discrimination complaint with Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division (ERD), or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When I review their situations, I find that many of those employees should not, in my opinion, have filed their discrimination complaints.  These employees’ matters are not usually frivolous, and there is usually sound basis to think their employers treated them unfairly.  However, being treated unfairly does not itself make for a good discrimination claim.

This is one of the many important things an employment attorney could tell you before you file a discrimination complaint- that is, if you ask.  There are some other important factors that do-it-yourselfers, given their unfamiliarity with the legal process, are commonly unaware of.

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Filed under Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Hiring an Attorne, Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action