How To Select An Experienced And Competent Kansas Employment Attorney

Like many employees across the country, Kansas employees face the problem of how to choose an employment attorney who can represent them competently and with a real concern for the employee's legal problem. Kansas employees in smaller towns have a real issue with finding a good employment attorney because most lawyers in small towns tend to have general practices and do not specialize in employment law.

However, in the bigger cities, many lawyers develop specialties in which they focus, including employment law. Some even have sub-specialties like discrimination law, or disability rights, or overtime law.

Whether you live in Goodland, Salina, Garden City, or one of the bigger cities such as Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence Kansas, there are some simple guidelines that you can follow for selecting a Kansas employment attorney upon whom you can depend.

Here are my ideas about how to go about selecting a Kansas employment attorney who will have the experience and skill to give you proper representation. These ideas are in the form of questions that you might want answered as you make your selection of an employment law attorney.

1. Does this lawyer one mainly represent Kansas employers or Kansas employees? If I was an employee, I would want a Kansas employment attorney who spends most of his or her time representing employees and not employers. In other words, is the attorney really committed to employee rights? If an attorney also represents employers, is that attorney going to help make law that hurts Kansas employees?

2. How much of the lawyers time is spent on dealing with employment law issues, and especially Kansas employment law? Now, it is true that a lot of employment claims are based upon federal law, and you do not need to be a Kansas attorney to understand those; but, if the employee also has claims that are based upon Kansas law, then an attorney who practices Kansas law on a daily basis is a good choice. When you meet with an attorney, do not be shy. Ask how much of his or her time the attorney actually spends representing employees.

3. How often has the attorney represented clients before the Kansas Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)? Almost all employment discrimination claims have to go through one of these agencies before a lawsuit can be filed. In addition, many employment claims get settled with the help of the Kansas Human Rights Commission or the EEOC. A competent employment attorney must be familiar with these agencies.

4. Is the attorney willing to go to court to enforce your Kansas employment rights? Some attorneys take on cases in front of the Kansas Human Rights Commission or the EEOC, but they do not want to go to court, and especially to federal court where most discrimination claims are filed.

5. Has the attorney represented many Kansas employees over the past few years or just a few? It seems obvious that an attorney who represents clients on a more frequent basis will be an experienced attorney who can better protect your Kansas employment rights. There is just no good substitute for experience because it really gives an attorney an edge when he has dealt with numerous employment law issues over the years.

6. How does the attorney come across when you meet him or her? Is the attorney willing to take time to sit back and let you explain your situation? Too often, lawyers are in a big hurry to talk and do not want to give you the chance to tell your story. It is true though that the lawyer sometimes has to keep the client focused on the real issues or the initial meeting might go on for hours. So, do not be offended if the lawyer keeps you focused on your employment law problems.

7. Does the attorney take cases only on an hourly basis or is the attorney also willing to accept cases on a contingent fee basis? Many times, the employee is not in a position to pay the fees that lawyers can charge. It is not uncommon for a lawyer to charge more than $200 an hour. Many attorneys will accept your case on a contingent fee basis which means that the attorney does not get paid unless you obtain a settlement or judgment. Make sure you know and understand the percentage of the settlement or judgment that the lawyer wants to take. These percentages can vary a lot and cost you a lot of money.

8. Is pressure being put on you to sign papers right away...a little like buying a car?
It is understandable that an attorney wants to sign up a client who brings in a good case, but the lawyer should be willing to let the potential client take the legal papers home to study. After meeting with a lawyer, ask yourself if you really feel comfortable with the lawyer because the two of you might be together for more than a year if you have a case that goes to trial.

Finally, make sure you have a checklist of questions that you would like the lawyer to address. This will keep you on track and make it easier to get answers to the questions that were listed above. When you go to visit the attorney, be sure to take all of the papers that you think might relate to the problem that you have. You also will want to take notes so you can think about things later, and even compare attorneys if you shop around.

Ultimately, you are the one who is choosing the attorney and you have the right to stop a meeting at any time if you do not feel comfortable and would like to leave. Although it can be tiring to look for an attorney with experience and skills, someone whom you can really trust, the search will be worth it. You would probably look at more than one car before you bought one, so why not look at more than one attorney?