Local Counsel

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Hiring Local Counsel to Assist When You Are the Outsider

You may have a long-term client who has a legal issue in another state. Instead of hiring an attorney in that jurisdiction, your client only trusts you to handle the matter. However, you have never handled a case in that jurisdiction. You have absolutely no knowledge of the intricate workings of the courts within the jurisdiction. 

You can research case law and code sections related to your case; however, this does not give you all the information you need to represent your client to the best of your ability. To diligently represent your client’s best interest, you should consider hiring local counsel to assist you with the case.

Reasons Why You Need to Hire Local Counsel If you are lawyering outside of your area, there are several reasons why you should consider hiring local counsel to assist you.

  • Each court has its own rules and procedures. Some of those procedures and rules may be unwritten. Local counsel understands how the judges, clerks, and staff members operate. A visiting attorney cannot be expected to know the things that could offend a judge or irritate a clerk of court. Local counsel can help a visiting attorney avoid the potential landmines that could make the case more difficult to win.

  • A good reputation with the judges, court staff, and community is important in the practice of law. Hiring a local attorney who has a reputation for being prepared, trustworthy, and successful can give you an advantage, especially if you try a case before a jury. Jurors usually know the attorneys in town with excellent reputations whereas they know nothing about an out-of-town attorney that they may not trust for no other reason than he is not a local attorney.

  • You can be at a distinct disadvantage if you are not familiar with the area or the people. As mentioned above, local attorneys know everyone associated with a case from the police officers and judges to opposing counsel and prosecutors. In addition, if your case involves an accident scene, real estate, or a business, it also helps to have someone who has actual knowledge related to the area who might recognize how the pieces fit together based on information that only a local residentmay know.

  • If your case involves issues that are specific to local or state issues, hiring local counsel can provide you with the experience and knowledge you need to win your case. Local and state issues typically have a long and detailed history. In many cases, some of the key information about local issues may not be foundin the public record. Having an attorney familiar with local issues can be a huge advantage for your claim.

Hiring Local Counsel With Extensive Experience Related to Your Case

In addition to specific knowledge about the jurisdiction of the case, local attorneys can provide insights and additional legal counsel that can benefit your client. Working with another legal team can give you fresh eyes on the case, especially if you have run into a few problems or roadblocks. Having a different perspective can result in another legal strategy that could improve your chance of success.

While you can use local counsel to file documents and sit with you at the table to distract from the fact that you have never handled a case in this jurisdiction, experienced local attorneys can offer much more. Do not discount the benefits for your client that a true collaboration with local counsel may offer.