Frequently Asked Questions
& Common Misconceptions
How much does it cost to speak with someone about my case?
Carter Law Firm doesn’t charge any initial consultation fees, whether that is over the phone or in person. These initial consultations may span days or even weeks, as you and the Firm conduct the proper amount of research before entering into a legal representation agreement. However, the Firm cannot provide a person legal advice about their case until a representation agreement is signed.
If I hire Carter Law Firm, how much should I expect to pay?
This may be the most common question potential clients have, yet they are nervous to ask. They shouldn’t be. It’s very important for attorneys to have early conversations about money to ensure everyone is operating under the same assumptions.
The Carter Law Firm does not charge any money for initial consultations, whether those conversations occur over the phone or in person. Also, most cases the Firm takes are contingency fee cases, which generally means that a client will not have to pay the Firm unless the client receives money through settlement or trial. The Firm, then, takes the initial risk to pursue the case, and would be compensated by receiving a percentage of any money the client would receive. Some cases would require clients to pay a non-refundable deposit, and the Firm will discuss that with any potential clients.
Some legal services will require an hourly fee be charged clients. Examples of these services include reviewing contracts, defending an individual in front of a state licensing board or other administrative procedure, or helping new and existing organizations with their legal corporate structure.
Deciding Whether to Pursue Legal Action
How long will it take before I receive compensation? How much money should I expect to receive?
Legal matters, sadly, often take a long time to resolve and there are no guarantees. Each case is unique and every client is unique, so it’s very important you have honest conversations with your attorney about your objectives and expectations for seeking legal services.
"But this shouldn’t take long. I’m sure the other side wants to settle."
Be very cautious when assuming what a former employer or other individual will or won’t do regarding your potential case. Rather than quick, lucrative settlements, most cases will often take many months or years to bring to completion. And most individuals will not come to the table to settle until well after a lawsuit has been filed.
Is it necessary to file a lawsuit? I’m not comfortable with the idea of taking someone to court.
This is completely understandable and future litigation isn’t the best option for many people, but it’s important to remember two things.
First, you may feel that way now, but those feelings may change depending on various circumstances, including your personal health, stability, or income. Also, it’s extremely common for clients to read or hear how an opposing side is misrepresenting the facts of what happened, and this motivates many persons to make sure the other side “doesn’t get away with it” and they become more comfortable filing a lawsuit. Second, lawsuits and trials are often the only way an individual will be able to recover from an opposing party. Defendants will delay, delay, delay. All in the hopes of a client giving up or wanting to settle for far less than they previously wanted. Remember that many individuals will do everything in their power to make sure you are not successful in your claim against them. And sometimes it requires a jury to finally settle the dispute.
Employment Law Questions
“I was discriminated / retaliated against! That’s illegal!”
Missouri is an at-will employment state. Unless a person has a contract with an employer, an employee can quit at any time and the employer can fire that employee at any time. That means the law presumes an employer’s reasons for terminating employees are perfectly legal. There are exceptions, however. Federal and state law prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees because of their age, race, sex, religion, etc. And for various other protected activities.
The above is an oversimplification, but it’s important to know that employers can largely fire someone for whatever reason they choose, even if it appears arbitrary. An employer’s actions are only illegal if the discrimination or retaliation can be traced back to some sort of illegal reason. You may be protected, so it’s important to discuss your legal options with an attorney with experience in such matters.
I don’t know why I was fired. What should I do?
Sometimes workers don’t receive any reason for their termination. In Missouri, workers are able to request their former employer provide them a reason, but the worker must make the request in compliance with Missouri’s “Service Letter” statute (RSMo 290.140). It’s recommended you contact an attorney if you have any questions. This is often the first step Carter Law Firm and clients will take when deciding whether to pursue legal actions against a former employer.
Do I need a lawyer to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC or MCHR?
Many individuals file charges without an attorney, but they often harm their cases because they are not knowledgeable about the law and necessary procedures. These include deficiencies in the Charge of Discrimination, waiting too long to request a right to sue letter, or failing to secure documents and witness statements to support their case.
Most people don’t seek an attorney because they are worried it would be too expensive, but remember that most attorneys that take discrimination or retaliation cases will only charge a contingency fee (see above) in which a client does not pay unless they are successful through a settlement or jury award. It is highly suggested that you find an attorney with experience in employment matters to assist you with your claims.
I just received my Right to Sue letter from the EEOC/MCHR. What should I do?
Individuals must file a lawsuit within 90 days of receiving a Right to Sue letter. It’s very important you try to speak to an attorney about your case. Yes, you could file a lawsuit on your own, but it is highly recommended you quickly find someone to represent you in your claims.
What should I do if I am being harassed at work?
Situations at work can be stressful. We are here to help.
Having a partner you can trust is the first step in taking action. The attorneys at Carter Law are personable, professional, and knowledgeable. Take the first step and get in touch with us today.