You have been the victim of investment fraud. What do you do now?
Without question, your first order of business is to retain the services of an experienced, qualified attorney to handle your investment fraud matter. Yet, having suffered loss at the hands of an investment “professional,” it is perfectly understandable that you may be a little reluctant to start wading through an endless choice of lawyers to prosecute an investment fraud case. Indeed, it can be difficult to know who might be the best investment fraud lawyer for you under the circumstances.
In this blog, we hope to assuage some of those fears. While selecting any type of attorney is always a subjective process that relies on your own judgment and preferences, we will discuss a few important tips to help you be better prepared to select the investment fraud attorney who is right for you.
Tip #1 – Do Your Research, Avoid Snap Decisions
There is a phrase that goes back to the children’s stories we all remember: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Yes, to garner a little wisdom from the old Tortoise and the Hare story, faster is not always better. More to the point, do not jump at the first attorney you meet. Take your time – slow and steady – to speak with several attorneys before making a decision.
While that advice is good for the selection of an attorney in any field, it is vital when you are pursuing a case against a person who purported to be a “financial professional.” That is because you need to find an attorney who is both seasoned in dealing with the complexity of investment fraud cases and is someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Accordingly, in the research phase, you want to start by getting some personal referrals. Ask friends, colleagues, and neighbors for recommendations. You may be surprised that you will get the names of a few attorneys right away. Then, check with state bar associations and, of course, do your online research to find the investment fraud attorneys in your area.
Once you have compiled a list of attorneys who you think would be able to help you, then move into the evaluation phase. That is what the next series of tips is all about.
Tip #2 – Experience, Experience, Experience
The number one consideration in selecting an investment fraud attorney is – you guessed it – experience. There are attorneys and firms that focus on a number of legal fields, and there are others that specialize in only one.
It is very possible that a law firm with a more diverse practice could still effectively help you when acting as your investment fraud attorney. Yet, all things being equal, you might be better off with an attorney who focuses solely on investment fraud matters.
Why is that? That is because a person laser-focused on investment fraud cases will have seen every possible fact pattern that could come up in an investment fraud case. Thus, an attorney who has, so to speak, “seen it all,” will be that much better at knowing how to move your case forward and avoid any common pitfalls to which less experienced attorneys might fall prey.
In sum, as you are weighing investment fraud attorneys in your selection process, keep in mind the level of expertise and the length of time a person has practiced investment fraud law (omitted at the top of mind) Tip #3 – The Money Question (omit first paragraph) During the initial consultation, any investment fraud lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark estimate as to what representation in your case will cost, based on the facts of your case. While some firms will do work for you on an hourly basis, many firms will take investment fraud cases on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm will not get paid unless they are successful in recovering money for the client. Be sure to ask what the percentage of the recovery the law firm will take as a contingency fee in your case as this can vary.
Tip #3 – The Money Question
During the initial consultation, any investment fraud lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark estimate as to what representation in your case will cost, based on the facts of your case. While some firms will do work for you on an hourly basis, many firms will take investment fraud cases on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm will not get paid unless they are successful in recovering money for the client. Be sure to ask what the percentage of the recovery the law firm will take as a contingency fee in your case as this can vary.
Tip #4 – Know Who Will Be Handling Your Case
It is possible that an attorney may have paralegals or younger associates working for him or her. If the main partner will not be handling your case on a day-to-day basis, then that means a less experienced person could be working your case the most. There is a double-edged sword there. On the one hand, you may be concerned that your case is not getting the full attention of the main attorney. Yet, on the other hand, the fees will be lower if a younger associate, rather than the partner, is putting more time into your case.
Overall, it is not always a bad thing that some work is delegated to associates. Yet, you want to make sure – and this is something you can discuss during the initial consultation – that you will have at least some meaningful, substantive contact with the person who is ultimately responsible for your investment fraud case.
Tip #5 – Rapport
While experience, attention, and reasonable fees are incredibly important factors in selecting an investment fraud lawyer, you should not discount that “gut feeling” you have. When meeting with any of the investment fraud lawyers on your list, keep in mind whether you feel you can, simply put, get along with that person.
Your case might be emotional for you, and it will likely involve some very personal information. You need to be sure that you can effectively work with an attorney given the emotional nature of the case. Also, you will want to make sure that you are comfortable with the attorney’s communication style. Ask about the best way to communicate with him or her, and what type of response time you should expect. Everyone is busy, but an attorney should never ignore a reasonable client request or question.
Get a Former Wall Street Attorney on Your Side
If you or a loved one is looking for justice after being victim of investment fraud, then you want someone in your corner who knows Wall Street. Consider getting the help of Melanie Cherdack.
Because she has been in the trenches as a former Wall Street Attorney, Melanie Cherdack and her team of experienced attorneys have seen just about every type of investment fraud or investment scam. While almost every investment carries a degree of uncertainty and risk, you may have been unnecessarily exposed to such risk due to the actions of others.
If you have lost money due to investment fraud or simple broker negligence, it is crucial to hire a lawyer who fully understands this area of law. Former Wall Street attorney Melanie S. Cherdack represents individual and institutional investors who are unwitting victims of investment fraud and broker negligence. She heads up a group of attorneys who represent investors across the United States. Contact us by filling out our online contact form, or calling 305-349-2336.