How to Choose a Class Action Lawyer
You’ve just received notice in the mail. You are eligible to join a class action lawsuit against a large corporation. If you’ve received this notice, it's likely that some other plaintiff in the class has already done the legwork, chosen the attorney, and initiated the lawsuit.
But what if you and a group of similarly situated people believe you have a viable claim against the manufacturer of a dangerous drug but there isn’t a class action suit in place? How do you start a class action lawsuit? You start by choosing a class action lawyer.
Whether you are attempting to bring a class action, a mass tort litigation, or a "multi-district litigation" (MDL), having the right attorney can be the difference between winning and losing your case. Below, you will find key information on how to choose a class action lawyer, including tips on questions to ask the attorney and what type of experience to look for.
One of the most over-looked aspects of choosing an attorney is your compatibility level. While this isn’t like a dating app where you need to be a “100% match,” finding a lawyer who meets your needs, while concurrently being able to meet the needs of the class, is paramount in your search.
Do you get along with the attorney? Does he/she answer your questions in a way you understand? Is the attorney reasonably accessible? How communicative is the attorney? You want to feel comfortable talking candidly and that the lawyer you choose is interested in solving your class’s problem. While this is only a small list of possible “ideals” in your attorney pursuit, really having a good working relationship will make the entire process go much more smoothly.
A key part of the attorney-client relationship is money. We all know lawyers don’t come cheap, so understanding your legal costs upfront can help ease some of the tension surrounding this issue. Choosing a lawyer who has complete transparency with his or her fees should be at the top of your list when selecting your attorney. Typically speaking, most class action attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that the attorneys only get paid if your class action is successful. Even then, the lawyer’s fee is based on a percentage of the amount awarded in the case.
As always, make sure you get this agreement in writing before signing on to any lawsuit.
Experience in Class Action Suits
This one is a biggie. Class action lawsuits require a level of expertise that includes filing the appropriate paperwork, pleading and proving the class exists, choosing the best member(s) to represent the class, and much more. Your future class action lawyer ideally will have tried a number of class action lawsuits beforehand, even better if they have filed cases in your specific area of complaint (i.e. mass torts and employment class actions, for example). Find out when the attorney last filed a class action similar to yours and if he or she will be handling the case personally or have someone else in the firm working on it.
One of the hallmarks of a class action lawsuit is the variety of plaintiffs in the lawsuit. While all plaintiffs must have suffered a similar injury, they don’t all need to be located in the same place. In fact, in our age of technological innovation, defective products, for instance, can span the country. A person in Florida can be just as eligible to be in the class as a person in a remote corner of Alaska. Find out if your potential class action lawyer has the ability to serve your needs wherever you are located and find a firm that has experience needed to handle nationwide cases.
How to Choose a Class Action Lawyer: Related Resources
- How is the Court System Structured?
- What Does it Mean to Settle a Case?
- Time Limits to Bring a Case: The "Statute of Limitations"
Learn More about Class Actions Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits, whether for a faulty product or vehicle manufacturing issue, can be complicated. If you have questions about receiving notice of the class action, how to join, or simply want more information, you may want to consider speaking with a local personal injury attorney who specializes in class action lawsuits today.