How To Present Your Case To A Lawyer

presenting a wrongful termination case to a lawyerThe following five tips should help you present your wrongful termination case to a lawyer and get the attention of the best lawyers as soon as possible:

1. Have a brief summary of your potential case and termination, which includes (a) Your date of hire and termination (b) Your most recent title, duties and compensation; (c) stated reason for termination by the employer and (d) what you believe is the true reason for your firing and why.

All of the above points can and should be summarized in one page, so that any busy attorney you contact can tell what the case is about in just a few seconds of reading your e-mail. Here is one example of such a summary: “I was hired in 2005 and terminated on May 5, 2017. My most recent position was project manager at $125k / year. I was terminated for “not being a team player” as stated by my employer. I believe that the true reason for my termination is filing a workers comp claim about a month before I was fired. I believe that this was the reason because I had no prior documented performance issues before my injury, and also because my boss told me that I should think twice before reporting my pain as a work injury.” Of course not every case is as clear as the example above, but this should provide you an idea of a good, concise and efficient summary.

2. Instead of using adjectives describing the wrongdoing, quote specific words and describe specific actions by the employer.

When you say “I was harassed / belittled / intimidated, etc..” this doesn’t say much to the lawyers who read this because harassment and these other terms can mean different things. Instead, consider stating exactly what happened. For example: “My boss grabbed me by my breast / told me that I am too old and I should retire” says much more to the lawyer who reads your summary than the above generic.

3. When you speak with attorneys about your case, make sure you do not sound angry.   

Any and every good, experienced employment lawyer knows that clients who are angry are both very hard to work with, and do not do well in court. You may have very good reasons for being upset and frustrated after being mistreated by the employer, but this should not translate into having the wrong attitude when talking to lawyers. Remember, part of the value of the case in your story and in who you are. If the lawyer cannot  present you in court as a kind person who was mistreated by an employer, it will be discouraging to start working on your case. Some people rush to talk to a lawyer just as soon as they are fired, and in a heat of a moment come across as extremely angry and make the wrong impression on the lawyers they talk to. If you are in that type of emotional state right now, you should take a few days or a few wMy caseeeks to calm down before you start reaching out to lawyers to talk abut your case. The law provides you with sufficient time to do this and you should take advantage of it if you need it.

4. Avoid telling lawyers that your case is complicated. 

This is something you should avoid saying to lawyers, because most lawyers believe (and it’s usually true) that “complicated” means weak or it means that there is no case. After all, The stronger the evidence of discrimination or wrongful termination is, the easier it is to explain. If you cannot explain your case in a few sentences to a lawyer, this means that the lawyer have a hard time explaining your case to the judge / jury, and that’s hardly inspiring to take the case on.  You don’t need to refer to your case as “complicated”. Tell the lawyers you are talking the information they are asking for and let them determine whether it’s complicated or not.

5. You spoke with a number of lawyers and all of them that they are too busy to take your case. 

This is often not the true reason for not taking the case. Think about it – if a lawyer is too busy to take your case, why would he even bother listening to what your case is about in the first place?  When a number of lawyers tell you that they are too busy to take your case, this means that either (a) they believe you don’t have a case worth pursuing or (b) there is something about your personality or how you present yourself that communicates to them that you will be a difficult client. “I am too busy” is an easy and safe way to reject a case without further discussion. Often, if you ask a lawyer to explain why he or she believes you don’t have a case and encourage them to be open with you, they will be happy to share with you. And, if you hear the same explanation from several lawyers, it’s very likely that their explanation is correct and pursuing your case is probably not worth it – for them and for you.


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