When dealing with important legal matters, it is vital that you procure the services of the finest legal minds available. While it might seem logical to employ large city-based firms, if you’re not living in the area in which they operate, you may be severely hindering your case. A local attorney will be a better fit to solve your legal needs.
While hiring a local attorney whose offices are located close to you is not completely necessary for winning your case, it will make the entire process easier, more efficient, and less of a burden on your time and your wallet. It is stressful enough to go through legal proceedings without adding additional external stressors onto your life in the form of an attorney who you can’t readily access.
So why should you seek to hire a local attorney who is located close to your home? What benefits can a local lawyer bring to your life? What hardships might you face if you were to hire an attorney who did not practice in your immediate area?
Have an Accessible Legal Team
When engaged in legal proceedings, there is often much to do in the way of paperwork, notarization, and face to face meetings with your team to discuss strategy. Sometimes issues can spring up last minute, and they require immediate attention. When these instances occur, it is helpful to have the guiding hand of your attorney within a respectable distance. If every time you had to drop an item off to your attorney or their staff required an hour plus car ride, it would wreak havoc upon your life. An adult with a fulltime job does not have the free time needed to trek out to a lawyer’s office for hours. Alternatively, attorneys and their staff do not have the time to journey out to you either.
What’s truly important in terms of accessibility is to ensure that your attorney has a working office in your area. Many law firms utilize satellite offices in an attempt to look larger than they truly are, or to appear on Google’s local search feed. When choosing an attorney, make sure that you check out their local office for yourself. Satellite offices are often void of staff and serve only as a location wherein the business receives mail. For the sake of your legal future, ensure that your lawyer’s office is legitimate.
The Law Varies
When you hire an out-of-town attorney, you run the risk that they might not be familiar with the particular laws of your region. Legal processes vary state by state, and sometimes even region by region. You want to make sure that your attorney has not only encyclopedic knowledge of the laws in your area, but practical hands on experience in trying cases under those rules.
An attorney will be the most well versed in legal issues pertaining to his or her own practice area. These will usually be the cases they try most often. It becomes problematic to bring in out-of-town counsel based on name value when they have never tried a case in your specific region.
Knowledge of Local Officials
The old saying goes, “a good lawyer knows the law, a great lawyer knows the judge.” This rings especially true in the case of local attorneys. While a big city firm might come out to your defense from their ivory tower, they’re likely to be standing before a local judge, of whom they have no knowledge. Armed with experience and an existing rapport, your local attorney knows the likes and dislikes of local judges and officials.
Also, if your lawyer has experience working in your area, they might also be familiar with the opposing counsel, including other private law firms or local prosecutors. This helps immensely with case strategy, as your legal team will know precisely how to go on the offensive.
Local attorneys typically develop such a rapport by attending mixers and engaging in cases within the local environment. While it is not in the character of a judge to show favoritism to local lawyers, it does help to know the specific values and preferences of the judge who is hearing your case. Strategically, hiring a local lawyer just makes sense.
On the other side of the coin, an out of town legal team might have a wealth of experience trying large-scale court cases, but they know nothing of the local legal environment. Despite all of their experience, a non-local lawyer might make a mistake or conduct themselves in a manner the judge finds offensive. This can be damning to your case.
Reduce Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
There are many expenditures one can accrue with an out-of-town attorney that have nothing to do with your case. Travel expenses are the largest. If you’re traveling to and from your attorney’s office, you’re putting valuable miles on your vehicle, as well as spending more money in fuel costs, highway tolls, or public transportation. If your attorney is traveling to meet you, you’re not dodging these expenses. The out-of-town attorney will add the cost of their travel into your bill. Keeping the distance traveled by either party to a respectable limit is preferred, regardless of who is doing the driving.
Oftentimes, if a lawyer is traveling a great distance to meet with clients or to try a case, lodging accommodations will have to be made. And guess who foots the bill for that? It’s you. Hotel costs are rolled into your attorney’s bill, so it makes extra sense to employ the services of a legal professional who can commute to your court proceedings from their home or office.
While traveling, a lawyer also has to make sure that they eat. Meal expenses are another pricing point that a traveling attorney will ding you for. Even if your out-of-town attorney can navigate the local legal system enough to win your case, you’re still going to be paying for a plethora of additional meals. A local attorney, who can go home at the end of the day and eat with their family is far more cost effective.
Keep it Local
Local attorneys have the knowledge and the experience needed to guide your legal case through the well tested waters of their practice location. One cannot oversell the importance of a local legal team, both in terms of trying a successful case, and keeping your personal costs down.
The legal office of Marc Futterweit, located in Dover NJ, stands at the ready to assist and protect our local clientele. We have the know-how and the experience needed to ply the legal waters of the New Jersey court system, assuring that all of our clients receive the very best in legal assistance.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 973-442-0200.