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A.J.
A.J., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4300
Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I have experience in Employment, Appeals, and Landlord/Tenant Law
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Question: I was employed in Washington dc but hired by a corporate

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Question: I was employed in Washington dc but hired by a corporate office in Alabama. The ALabama office is were all policy is made, our health care is out of, our payroll, HR, etc. Now that my job has been eliminated by the executives from the AL office, do I need to retain an attorney from Alabama if I want to file a law suit? Can a hire a DC lawyer to fight a corporation in DC?

SavyLawyer :

Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer. My name isXXXXX am an employment law attorney, and I look forward to answering your question this evening.

SavyLawyer :

Proper jurisdiction, meaning the proper state to take legal action in, can be a tricky issue. Ultimately either an attorney in Alabama or an attorney in D.C. should be able to tell you if their jurisdiction is proper for your cause of action. Based on the information you have provided, there is a good argument that either Alabama or DC would be the proper jurisdiction, as they would both arguably have "personal" jurisdiction over a corporation whose corporate headquarters are in Alabama but who employed people in DC.

SavyLawyer :

Although it can get more complicated than this, generally for purposes of an employment law action a state (or the district) have "personal" jurisdiction over a corporation/company if their corporate headquarters are located their, or they conduct significant business in a state.

SavyLawyer :

DC would certainly be a more convenient jurisdiction for you, if you live there, and because you were also employed there and the company was, presumably, doing business there, jurisdiction should be appropriate for DC. Ultimately, this is a conversation you will want to have with an attorney licensed in and practicing in DC. However, yes, based on the information provided, an attorney in DC should be able to assist you as DC jurisdiction should be proper.

SavyLawyer :

The Bar Association of the District of Columbia has a referral service that you can use at:

SavyLawyer :

http://www.badc.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3325

Customer:

should I expect to pay a lawyer to answer this question? Or is this advice a DC lawyer can give without charging me?

SavyLawyer :

That is a good question. Often the issue of whether or not a suit can be brought within a particular jurisdiction is part of an initial consultation. Many, but not all, attorneys will provide an initial consultation for free or for a minimal charge.

SavyLawyer :

If you use the district bar association's referral fee, they will charge you a fee of, I believe, $40, which covers an initial consultation with the attorney you are referred to.

SavyLawyer :

What an attorney will charge for does vary between different attorneys. However, the odds are that you will be able to find an attorney that can answer this threshold question, "can I file a suit here?" during the initial consultation.

SavyLawyer :

So that you have it, the phone number for the DC Bar referral service is:

SavyLawyer :

(202)(NNN) NNN-NNNN/h2>

SavyLawyer :

The Bar also provides information on how to find an attorney (should you choose not to use the referral service) at:

SavyLawyer :

http://www.dcbar.org/for_the_public/working_with_lawyers/find.cfm#8

Customer:

so what would your suggestion be? I've got the name of an Al lawyer and this fellow is being used by a few people at the DC office who got let go too.

SavyLawyer :

It certainly would not hurt to speak with a DC attorney and get their take on the situation. You can also talk with an attorney in Alabama as well. Just talking to an attorney does not commit you to them. My suggestion would be to talk to an attorney in each jurisdiction before making a final call. The attorney should be able to tell you both why jurisdiction is proper in their state/district and if there are any advantages to bringing a claim in their state.

SavyLawyer :

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any additional questions or need clarification of any kind, I am happy to keep chatting. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer:

OK thanks- can you tell me if a $375 consultation fee is high? and then they one lawyer wants a $5000 retainer to take the case....my case isn't that strong, but I am hoping for a few weeks of severance pay.

SavyLawyer :

That is tough to say in a venue such as this. Many attorneys will provide a free initial consultation to determine if there is any case worth taking. Also, $5000 may be high depending on what you hope to gain from the suit. If you do not believe that you have a particularly strong case, and may only get a few months severance, then it may be high. Ultimately, you have to compare what fees will cost you relative to what you think you can gain from the representation.

Customer:

I agree. The AL attorney said he would be willing to talk to the legal council in the AL corporate office and state the facts. If the office does the "right thing" and acts justly, they should agree to give me a month or two of pay. If I get some award, then the attorney said he's charge me for a few house of work. If no money is awarded, then the AL lawyer would not charge me. Does this OK.

SavyLawyer :

That sounds like a modified version of a contingency fee agreement, and is relatively common, yes. It is always a good idea to have terms in writing, most attorneys will use a written retainer agreement of some kind. A contingency fee arrangement is beneficial to the client in one very important way, if they do not gain anything from the representation, they do not have to pay legal fees.

SavyLawyer :

I hope this helps further and let me know if you have any additional questions. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer:

OK thanks for this advice.

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