Fiddler & Associates, P.C.
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1004 Congress, 3rd Floor - Houston, TX

How to Talk to an Employment Lawyer

We get anywhere from five to fifteen call each day for new cases. Those calls have to be screened because, while I would love to speak with everyone who calls, if I did I would have little or no time to practice law. I know there are other employment lawyers who aren't as busy or don't have a staff and who will personally screen your call, but whether you are talking to them or to my staff, there are some things you can do that will make it more likely they or I take your case. Answer questions directly and avoid the urge to tell your story. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but it's the most important thing you can do. Good employment lawyers are like doctors--they are looking for certain key facts (or symptoms), the presence or absence of which will determine whether they can take your case. Your urge will be to download all your information on the attorney so he or she can look for what they think is important, but that's not an efficient way to get to what is important. When you are done answering the lawyer's questions, if you think there's something important they missed you can add it. My staff will usually ask you this at the end of the call. Be prepared to tell them the real reason you believe you were terminated. Most terminations are illegal only if they have occurred for an unlawful reason. Therefore, you will almost always be asked, "What do you think is the real reason you were terminated?" If you don't know the real reason you were terminated (and you are calling for a wrongful termination case), chances are we will not be able to help you. We understand you aren't a mind-reader and don't know with metaphysical certainty what was going on in your employer's mind when they made the decision to terminate you, but if you have no idea we probably won't either. Be prepared to provide evidence supporting the real reason for termination. We understand you probably don't have a tape recorded conversation from your employer admitting they are terminating you because of your age, but we will want to know the basis for your belief. If it's an age discrimination case, were you replaced by someone younger, were other older people terminated, or were remarks made about your age? Unlike the impression given on television, it's evidence that drives a case, not the charisma of the attorney. And when we are looking to take a new case, the cases with the best evidence will always be more attractive. I hope this helps. And if my staff or another attorney insists on asking you questions before hearing you story, or keeps asking you questions about why you believe you were terminated, you will understand why. GSF

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