How do I find the "best lawyer" to handle my case or legal issue?

There is no simple answer for finding the "best lawyer" to handle a particular case or legal issue.  In determining the lawyer who is best for handling your case or legal issue, only you, the potential client, can make that decision. However, there are some things you may consider helpful in finding and hiring the "right" lawyer for your particular claim, case or legal issue, and this is one of the first decisions you will face.  Rather than relying solely on a law firm’s website, television or media advertising, you may want to consider the following:
  • What is the experience of the lawyer who will be responsible for handling my case, and has he or she handled similar legal issues or cases in the past;
  • What is the length of time the lawyer has been in practice and his or her reputation  in the legal community;
  • Will the lawyer who will be responsible for handling my case be accessible and available to speak with me and answer questions about my case and what I can expect; and
  • What is my comfort level when speaking to the lawyer and my ability to exchange information with the lawyer that may be important or relevant about my particular case or legal issue.

Does Seidensticker & San Filippo handle my type of case or legal matter?

Seidensticker & San Filippo handles civil cases, civil disputes and other civil legal matters.  When legal disputes or claims are filed as a formal action, lawsuit or proceeding, they are generally referred to as "litigation".  Some general descriptions of the types of cases Seidensticker & San Filippo handles are listed in the Business Litigation & Personal Injury sections of our website.  Seidensticker & San Filippo’s partners have both been handling civil cases and litigation for over 20 years, so a description of every type of case or legal dispute we handle may not be specifically listed or described in the practice areas of our website.  If you would like additional information about the types of cases and legal matters that our firm handles, please contact us.

What if I just want an "out-of-court settlement"?

"Out-of-court settlement" is a general term or phrase sometimes used where a claim, legal dispute or disagreement is settled by agreement between the adverse parties, either before a lawsuit or other formal legal action is filed, or after it has been filed, but before the dispute or case is submitted to a judge, jury or arbitrator to decide the outcome.  Often times, through effective negotiations, a settlement can be reached before a lawsuit or formal legal action becomes necessary.  Even after a lawsuit is brought, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution proceedings are often successful in resolving the litigation by way of a settlement agreement.   Whether a settlement is reached or not can depend on many factors, some of which are:
  • Identifying the relevant and  important,  or "material",  facts of the claim, disagreement or dispute, and determining which of those facts, if any, are in dispute;
  • Determining what law applies to the facts of the claim or dispute;
  • The certainty with which the dollar amount involved in the claim or dispute can be quantified;
  • A party’s ability and willingness to weigh the potential benefits of a settlement  against  the risk and uncertainty of having the  outcome decided by a judge, jury, magistrate or arbitrator; and
  • A party’s ability and willingness to handle the financial and emotional demands of litigation or trial.
Seidensticker & San Filippo strives to establish open and effective communication with our clients so we can identify the relevant and material facts of a claim or dispute that may enable us to explore settlement options for our clients before, or early in the litigation.

Has Seidensticker & San Filippo handled any cases like mine before?

A general description of the types of disputes and cases Seidensticker & San Filippo handles can be found under the Business Litigation & Personal Injury sections of our website.  Confidentiality obligations to our former and current clients restrict our ability to share certain information about specific cases.  Additionally, some settlement agreements contain express confidentiality or non-disclosure provisions that restrict or prohibit the disclosure of details of a settlement.

What are the chances of "winning" my case?

The chances of "winning" a client’s case are affected by many of the same factors that determine whether an "out-of-court-settlement" can be reached.  However, after formal litigation is started, the parties can gather additional information through a process that is generally referred to as "discovery." That information, and whether it can be presented or the manner in which it is presented as evidence to a judge, magistrate, jury or arbitrator, can also affect the chances of a successful outcome of a case.  The believability of a party or other witness testimony presented to a judge, jury or arbitrator can also affect the outcome of a case.  Even after a case is decided by a trial or arbitration, there may be post-trial or post-arbitration and appellate proceedings that can affect the ultimate outcome of a case.

Does Seidensticker & San Filippo handle cases and legal disputes on a contingency basis?

Yes, depending on the type of case or legal dispute, Seidensticker & San Filippo handles some cases and disputes on a contingency basis.  Generally, claims and cases in which our firm agrees to represent clients on a contingency basis involve bodily injury, personal injury or wrongful death. All cases in which Seidensticker & San Filippo represents a client on a contingency fee basis are governed by a written representation agreement between the client and our law firm.   Please contact us to determine whether your case may be one that our law firm will handle on a contingency basis.

I have a case involving a contract or business dispute.   Can I recover my attorney’s fees and costs from the adverse party?

Generally, for a party to recover an award of attorney’s fees against another party in litigation, there must be either a statute or law that provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees in that particular type of litigation, or the legal dispute must involve a contract that provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees by the prevailing party against the non-prevailing party.  There are also procedural rules under which one party can propose a settlement in writing to another party in litigation. The failure of the party to accept a proposal for settlement, depending upon the ultimate outcome in the litigation, can trigger the offering party’s right to obtain an award of attorney’s fees against the party that rejected the offer.   With regard to recovering legal "costs" (as opposed to attorney’s fees), usually the party that ultimately prevails in the litigation can obtain an award of its taxable legal costs against the non-prevailing party at the conclusion of the lawsuit.  The court typically determines what legal costs can be recovered.  When a court awards attorneys fees and/or legal costs, the determination of entitlement and amount will usually be made by court order or judgment.

Does Seidensticker & San Filippo ever provide an initial free consultation about the possibility of taking my case?

If your case or legal issue involves a potential personal injury, bodily injury or wrongful death claim, Seidensticker & San Filippo’s initial consultation is free of charge.  Additionally, if we agree to represent you as a client in a personal injury, bodily injury or wrongful death claim or case, Seidensticker & San Filippo’s compensation for handling your claim or case is covered under a written contingent fee agreement between the client and Seidensticker & San Filippo  that both the client and lawyer sign when our representation begins.  If there is no recovery for the client, our law firm does not receive an attorney’s fee from the client.  The specific details are set out in the written contingent fee agreement and statement of client’s rights provided to the client when the case is accepted.

For inquiries we receive about representing potential new clients in matters other than those covered by contingency fees, such as business litigation, depending upon the nature of the dispute or case, and provided it is arranged in advance, one of our partners will usually provide an initial consultation of up to one-half hour without charge so the potential client and Seidensticker & San Filippo can assess entering into a formal client-lawyer relationship.  If the potential client and Seidensticker & San Filippo agree to establish a client-lawyer relationship, we will provide the potential client with a written representation agreement outlining the terms governing our client-lawyer relationship and specifying the amount of our retainer and hourly billing rate.