Here are my top three tips on presenting your potential employment case or wrongful termination case to a lawyer:
I. Be able to explain the basics of your case in just a few sentences to capture a lawyers attention right away. For instance the following would be an excellent way to initially describe your case: “I have been employed with company x for 10 years and received mostly good reviews. 3 weeks after returning from medical leave or after filing a workers comp claim, I was terminated for not being a “team players” or based on false accusations.” There is no reason with telling the lawyer that your case is very complicated, because lawyers believe that “complicated” case all too often means no case.
When describing the employer’s actions against you, be specific and do not use generic adjectives. For instance, “verbal assault” or “harassment” doesn’t really tell your lawyer about what happened. But, “I am going to kill you” or “he grabbed me by my breast” gives that specific information that would be really useful to your lawyer.
II. In a potential wrongful termination case, be ready to provide essential evidence relevant to your case, including (1) a termination letter or any communication explaining the reasons why you were terminated, (2) any evidence supporting your belief that you were terminated for an illegal reasons, to an extent available; and (3) information regarding any witnesses that would be willing to corroborate your side of the story, if available.
III. Do not get angry when talking to a lawyer, no matter how difficult the questions you lawyer asks are. If the lawyer you are talking to about your case is playing a devil’s advocate and is challenging your case from different angles, it’s a good thing. It means that he is doing his job and he is testing how strong your case actually is. This is one of the more important parts of initial case screening. Be assured that the attorney representing the employer will be challenging your case just as aggressively, so it’s important for your lawyer to know about any potential weaknesses of your case as early as possibly. You should not be frustrated if it appears to you that your lawyers doesn’t automatically believe your side of the story. Your attorney’s job is not to automatically believe you but determine how strong your case is and what potential issues you will have to overcome to prove it.
Remember – the best employers lawyers are also the pickiest. The want the best cases and the best clients. Following the above tips will help you attract the attention of these good lawyers to your case.