Articles Posted in business law

If lawyers are a dime a dozen, why is a good lawyer so hard to find? The answer may have a lot more to do with your own due diligence than any cliches about lawyers. As you consider whether and how to hire a lawyer to assist your business, or any other legal issue for that matter, there are a number of things you can do to improve the chances of finding the right lawyer for your issue.

Before you even start looking for a lawyer, the first question you should ask is what kind of a lawyer do I need? In today’s complex economy, lawyers have become highly diversified by practice area, meaning that different lawyers tend to focus their practices in different areas of the law. Some lawyers may focus strictly on intellectual property law or even specific types of intellectual property while other lawyers may focus solely on business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, just to name a few practice areas. As a result, if you are starting a new business and looking for a lawyer to assist with any other legal needs, such as forming a new business entity,it is possible to engage a lawyer who has devoted a material portion of his or her practice to assisting small businesses with the specific needs and legal issues that confront new business ventures.Once you have identified the type of lawyer you need, the next step will probably be to identify specific lawyers in that area who can assist you. Here, there are many ways one might go about doing this, including searching the internet, the Yellow Pages or using a lawyer referral service.Other methods may involve personal efforts on your part, like asking friends, colleagues or consultants for a referral.When you have identified one or more specific lawyers to consider continue to research further. In addition to confirming that the lawyers you are considering are qualified to represent you or your new business in the specific area of law at issue, perhaps equally or more important is to make sure you find a lawyer whose personality and practice style are a good fit for you. In this regard, there are a number of specific issues to consider, such as the following:

1. Does the attorney have experience in the area of law or matter at issue?

A local consumer group has sued the largest insurance company in the area, accusing the health insurer of subjecting their customers to big rate hikes in order to force older and sicker people into low-benefit and high-deductible plans, a tactic the group calls a death tunnel.The group accuses the insurance corporation of not offering certain policies to new customers and then sharply raising rates for those remaining in the plans.As an experienced attorney I have reviewed many business disputes and have completed same with favorable results.

People with medical problems are often barred from switching to comparable policies and they then become trapped into paying ever rising premiums until they can no longer afford it, or they are forced to switch to a policy with vastly inferior coverage.Either result is beneficial to the insurance company’s bottom line but not the customer,claims the consumer group. Companies are trying right now to only insure healthy people and the group believes the insurers are hoping to make their customer bases as healthy as possible before federal health reforms take effect in 2014. Because at that time the insurers will no longer be able to turn people away based on their medical conditions.The suit claims the insurers are violating a 1993 law meant to prevent so called death tunnels. The law requires insurers that close a plan to new customers to minimize rate increases must benefit the previously insured as well..The allegations are false, claims an insurance company spokesman. A former customer said he had never heard of the term death spiral. But when the insurance company told him last year it planned to hike his family’s premium by 25 percent, from $1,900 a month to over $2,400, he felt he had no choice but to switch to a bare bones plan with inferior coverage.Because his 21-year-old son has a brain lesion from a sports injury that needs monitoring he knew the family would have difficulty getting other coverage.So instead of the $2,000 deductible in his old plan he was forced to change to a policy with a $5,000 deductible per person. He now avoids seeing a doctor unless he has a serious problem.When there’s a high deductible, consumers are less likely to use their insurance,the consumer group noted. The former customer who is a plaintiff said he tried to switch back but was told he could not because his old plan had been closed to new customers.These allegations are very similar to another suit against the insurance giant which was settled last year and requires them to offer consumers in closed policies access to comparable coverage and to limit rate increases in the closed policies for those who remain.The lawsuit notes that the insurance company has closed 9 policies so far and has announced that soon it will close 24 policies regulated by the Department of Insurance. Consumer watchdog groups claim the company will do this without offering customers comparable coverage and limiting rate increases for those remaining in the closed plans.The consumer group is asking the court to declare the suit a class action and order the insurance company to discontinue these practices and pay damages to affected customers.Please call me at 800 320-0080 or visit me at my offices located in Rockville and Baltimore today.