FAQ

Do I need a lawyer for my case?
Can I have a friend or family member help me in court?
What types of fee arrangements are possible?
What is a retainer?
If I win my case, does the losing side have to pay my attorneys' fees?
How do I know if a have a good case?
Are initial consultations free?
Do most cases settle out of court?
What is "discovery?"
What is alternative dispute resolution?
What is mediation?
What is arbitration?
Does ADR work?

Do I need a lawyer for my case?

Not necessarily. You have a constitutional right to represent yourself in court, but self-representation is usually not recommended. An attorney is trained and experienced in the law, and an attorney can provide objective, skilled advice.

Can I have a friend or family member help me in court?

No. Wisconsin Statute section 757.30 prohibits the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers. You cannot have a non-lawyer represent you in court.

What types of fee arrangements are possible?

Different law firms offer different types of fee arrangements. Three most common arrangements are the hourly rate, the contingency rate, and the flat fee. With the hourly rate, the attorney tracks time spent on your file and sends a bill every month. Hourly rates vary depending on the attorney's skill, experience, practice area and geographical location. Contingency rates are most common in personal injury and product liability cases. The attorney's fee is a percentage of the amount recovered. Under the flat fee, the attorney charges a predetermined amount for a type of case or service.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a down payment on legal fees and costs. The retainer deposit is held in the attorney's trust account, and is applied toward future fees and expenses. Many attorneys offer refundable retainers. This means that the unused retainer deposit is returned to you. Make sure you know whether your retainer is refundable or non-refundable before signing a retainer agreement.

If I win my case, does the losing side have to pay my attorneys' fees?

Not usually. In most cases, each party must bear the cost of their own attorney's fee, but the winner can collect some out-of-pocket litigation costs. This is called the American Rule. Some types of cases allow for fee shifting where the losing party must pay the winner's attorney's fees. Consult your attorney about the possibility of fee shifting.

How do I know if a have a good case?

Ask for a free consultation. At Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, attorneys discuss and analyze your claim with you. Every case is different depending on the unique facts of each situation. There is no exact science to the law or litigation, and attorneys must rely on experience, skill and sound judgment when evaluating a case. Please call our office for an in-depth discussion of your case.

Are initial consultations free?

Yes. We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case and discuss available options.

Do most cases settle out of court?

Yes. Between 90 to 95% of all cases result in an out-of-court settlement. In order to maximize chances of settlement and the value of the settlement, we prepare each case as if it will go to trial.

What is "discovery?"

Discovery generally means the exchange of information between the parties to a lawsuit. Under the Wisconsin rules of court, each side must disclose relevant evidence when it is requested by the opposing side. Formal discovery includes depositions, interrogatories, request for documents, and requests for admissions.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution of ADR is a way of resolving disputes out of court. ADR is generally quicker and less expensive than litigation in the court system. All parties must agree to a form of ADR, but more and more courts are requiring litigants in the court system to attempt settlement trough ADR before the judge will allow the case to proceed to a trial.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of ADR. It involves a neutral third party who helps the parties negotiate a settlement. Mediation is not binding and the parties must agree to a resolution.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is another form of ADR. It can be binding or non-binding, depending on the agreement of the parties. In arbitration, a neutral third party or a panel of people hear evidence and decide the case like a judge or a jury.

Does ADR work?

Yes. Most attorneys find that ADR works and results in a settlement.

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