Retaining A Lawyer-How Should One Do It?

Suppose I need a lawyer to represent me in a court action. It seems to me that I should have a contract with the lawyer, stating:
-what actions he will undertake on my behalf
-stating a start date and an end date
-how much the fee will be
-what actions he is NOT authorized to do
And, there should be some kind of “mutual satisfaction” clause-stating what will happen should the results not be in accord with my wishes.
The thing I’m hung up on-die to the inherent conflict of interest, should’nt this contract be reviewed by ANOTHER lawyer? It seems to me that a third party would be necessary toinsure impatiality and fairness.
How much should a lawyer charge to review such a contract?

Here ya go: http://www.lawyers.com/legal_tips/index.php?site=111&eid=&prevpageid=00000&consumertype=P

Also http://www.lawyers.com/legal_topics/browse_by_topic/browse_parent/browse_child/content/show_content.php?site=111&eid=&prevpageid=03101&city=&county=&paop=&caop=&consumertype=P&articleid=1001962

And http://www.lawyers.com/legal_tips/faqs/content/show_content.php?articleid=1001967&site=111&eid=&prevpageid=02106&city=&county=&paop=&caop=&consumertype=P&path=/legal_tips/faqs/content/show_content.php

Look around on these pages; this should answer most of your questions.

A 2nd lawyer is usually not required to review the representation/fee agreement. You and your (1st/only) lawyer agree on the scope of the respresentation and the fee. If the written agreement is confusing, ask for changes before you sign it. If you feel you’re getting bamboozled, switch lawyers.

There is no inherent conflict of interest: your lawyer represents YOU and your interests. Also, know that lawyers take an oath of professional ethics and can be disciplined (including suspension & disbarment) for violating the ethical code. Get a second opinion/estimate if you’re afraid you’ll get hosed. The initial consultation usually won’t cost you anything.

There is usually no end date specified for the representation, since no one can predict exactly when a legal matter will “end.” The end of the matter is when the case or transaction is completed (unless you fire the lawyer or the lawyer withdraws).

The scope of the representation includes what you want (and don’t want) the lawyer to do. Some of this has to be “played by ear,” again because all the variables can’t be predicted ahead of time. You can expect your lawyer to inform you of any significant developments.

Expect no promises/guarantees/mutual satisfaction clauses. You can only get references and recommendations as to the best lawyer you can afford for the type of legal issue you have. With some issues, you can arrange for a contingency fee (if you recover money, the lawyer gets some; if you lose, you don’t pay anything). Contingency is inappropriate for some legal issues, and forbidden in some cases (criminal defense, some domestic disputes).

Hope that helps -