How to ap­proach a lawyer

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By At­tor­ney Fa­jer Ahmed Should you have any ques­tions or con­cerns, or you re­quire a con­sul­ta­tion, please email me at ask@fa­jerthelawyer.com.

It may be un­con­ven­tional for me to be writ­ing about how to ap­proach a lawyer, but as a lawyer my­self, I have ex­pe­ri­enced deal­ing with lawyers and clients alike, so I thought it would be use­ful to write how to find the best lawyer. For­tu­nately and un­for­tu­nately, the Kuwaiti mar­ket is sat­u­rated with lawyers. This should make it easy to find a lawyer, but it is still con­fus­ing to many clients on what in­for­ma­tion to share, what level of trust should be there and what are the ex­pec­ta­tions. There­fore, I have de­cided to­day to write about a few com­mon ques­tions.

Keep in mind

Ques­tion: What to keep in mind when ap­proach­ing a lawyer? Can I trust that ev­ery­thing will be con­fi­den­tial?

Fa­jer: Yes, ev­ery­thing by law should be un­der a con­fi­den­tial­ity clause. When you ap­proach your lawyer, you should be clear with the fol­low­ing:

1. What doc­u­ments or cor­re­spon­dences you have in writ­ing.

2. What do you want out of it? Vengeance should not be a goal - in­stead it should be for x amount of money, to know what your rights are, or ob­tain­ing a cer­tain right or obli­ga­tion.

Power of at­tor­ney

Ques­tion: What is a POA and how much power should I give my lawyer? Also, where can I ob­tain one?

Fa­jer: First of all let me ex­plain what a POA is - it is a power of at­tor­ney that gives your lawyer the right to con­tinue on your be­half with any le­gal pro­cesses re­quired. Some POA will give the lawyer the right to ob­tain money on your be­half, while oth­ers will let them do ad­min­is­tra­tive work on your be­half. Let me give a com­mon ex­am­ple - let us say you sue your pre­vi­ous em­ployer for not giv­ing you your in­dem­nity. Your lawyer wins and your in­dem­nity is KD 15,000. If you gave your lawyer the right to ob­tain money on your be­half, then they could take the amounts and then trans­fer them to you. This is some­thing you should dis­cuss with your lawyer, be­cause there are pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive con­se­quences. Pos­i­tive be­ing that it is less work for you to ex­e­cute the ver­dict, and it is only neg­a­tive if you are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties trust­ing your lawyer. So I sug­gest you un­der­stand this point care­fully with your lawyer.

You can ob­tain one from any court of law in Kuwait, the bar as­so­ci­a­tion, the min­istry com­plex or Lib­er­a­tion Tower. You will need a KD 2 stamp, a let­ter from the lawyer and the lawyer’s ID as well as yours.

Lawyer charges

Ques­tion: What are the com­mon charges for lawyers? Fa­jer: I get this ques­tion a lot and re­ally, it de­pends on the type of case and the type of proof re­quired (what doc­u­ments you have and what doc­u­ments are miss­ing). It is a ser­vice in­dus­try and there­fore each lawyer has a dif­fer­ent way of charg­ing their clients. One thing to keep in mind though is only trust a lawyer that has stud­ied your case be­fore they pro­vide you with a quo­ta­tion. I per­son­ally do not trust lawyers that give quo­ta­tions with­out see­ing the whole pic­ture.

Con­tract with a lawyer

Ques­tion: I am about to sign a con­tract with a lawyer and was won­der­ing if you have any ad­vice on what to keep an eye out for?

Fa­jer: There are many things to be wary of when sign­ing any con­tract in gen­eral. The most im­por­tant thing though for any con­tract is that the obli­ga­tions and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of each party are clearly writ­ten out. It is highly im­por­tant that both par­ties in­volved un­der­stand what is re­quired from them.

Let me give an ex­am­ple - when sign­ing the ser­vice agree­ment with your lawyer for an em­ploy­ment case, your con­tract should clearly state what your lawyer is ask­ing on your be­half by writ­ing out all the ben­e­fits that you are right­fully en­ti­tled to. So the con­tract be­tween your lawyer and your­self would men­tion, for ex­am­ple, that your lawyer will ob­tain your ter­mi­na­tion in­dem­nity plus your econ­omy re­turn class ticket to your home coun­try, re­mu­ner­a­tion for your off days and so on.

The pay­ments should be agreed on in the con­tract, in­clud­ing the amount to be paid, the dates of pay­ment and the pre­ferred method of pay­ment for the amounts mentioned. Also, keep in mind that if the lawyer is rep­re­sent­ing you for any cases or is­sues that in­volve them ob­tain­ing money on your be­half, then your con­tract should in­clude their method of pay­ment to you. Will they ob­tain the money from the court in their name and then trans­fer it to you? And if so, when will they pay you back, etc.

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