Written by attorney Calvin B. Chang

How to get an employment lawyer; recommendations for employees seeking legal representation

Recommendations for how to get an employment attorney to represent you.

First, you should only contact attorneys who represent employees in employment matters. If you randomly submit information requests to any law firm, you risk the possibility that the firm you contact may represent your employer.

Do not expect attorneys to seek you out. There are prohibitions on attorney live solicitation that may or may not apply in your case, but most attorneys do not want to risk violating rules of professional responsibility.

Most employment attorneys receive many more requests for legal representation than they can accept and only will accept a very small percentage of cases. It is not unusual for an attorney to only accept less than five percent of the cases from prospective client contacts.

Employment lawsuits are expensive and time consuming. An attorney who agrees to represent you in an employment lawsuit may spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on your case. A prospective attorney is thinking whether or not they want to invest in you and your case. If you are having trouble finding an attorney for your case, there are several possibilities:

· The way in which you are contacting prospective attorneys is not effective (i.e. you leave a voice mail message, when the firm is requesting that you submit an online contact).

· Your previous attorney withdrew from representing you. (This may be a red flag that tells other attorneys they will be next to have a problem with the way you are approaching your role as a client).

· You are not looking in the right place for the right kind of attorney;

· You are a public sector employee and have contacted attorneys who do not practice in public sector employment law.

· Your case does not have as much value as you think;

· You are not providing the prospective attorney with a sufficient written description of your legal issue.

· You are providing too much information that causes the attorney to think your case is too complex with too many issues that will cost too much time and money to litigate.

· You may not be making a good impression. Your communications should be professional, and you should not sound like you are making disparaging comments about your employer or co-workers.

· Although you may be upset; sounding too irate or angry might scare away attorney’s who might believe they will have a hard time convincing a jury that you are a reasonable plaintiff and it is your employer who has acted unreasonably.

Because there are more potential clients available that there are available plaintiff’s attorneys, you should stand out from the beginning as able to articulate the facts of your case.

Provide detailed yet succinct description of your legal problem. If you are only able to phone an attorney and leave a message, assume some attorney’s simply will not call you back because they do not have the time to speak to you on the phone.

If you are seeking representation, have a professional one-page written description prepared and send it to attorney’s who appear to match the type of legal issue you have. (Your communication with a prospective attorney is confidential – as long as you do not disclose it to anyone other than your attorney or prospective attorney) Employment attorneys need certain information in order to evaluate your case:

  1. The name of the employer; the name of any individual defendants;

  2. If the employee was fired, denied employment, laid off, denied a reasonable; accommodation, or whatever the issue is, in ten words or less;

  3. The dates that these things happened;

  4. The employers stated reason for what they did to you;

  5. How long you were employed for the employer;

  6. What was your job title;

  7. What was your monthly salary?;

  8. Have you filed your complaint with any agencies like the DFEH or EEOC?

· Provide the attorney with a succinct timeline of events with a brief factual description of each significant event.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

As you can see, trying to find legal representation for an employment lawsuit takes a lot of work and commitment on your part. It is no different than trying to find a job. So – approach every contact with a prospective attorney as if you were interviewing for a job. Be professional, competent, courteous, and promptly respond to a prospective attorney’s communication with you. I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

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