Going through sexual harassment in the workplace can be highly stressful and have lifelong consequences such as PTSD. This situation puts you in a very vulnerable position, and you need to get help as soon as you can. A sexual harassment lawyer will help you build the case and represent you in every step of the process.
6 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Sexual Harassment Lawyer
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1. Good Listening Skills
A good lawyer must be an excellent listener and patiently let you explain your situation without interruptions. Moreover, your attorney should be someone you can fully trust, as you will disclose sensitive details about your life.
2. Strategic Thinking
After reviewing your case, your lawyer must propose a strategy. This includes everything, from the evidence gathering process to the key witnesses they will call on your behalf. Strategic thinking is an essential quality, as the outcome of your case may depend on it. To evaluate if someone is a strategic thinker, you must pay attention to:
- The propositions that they make to help your case
- The risks they are willing to take
- Their willingness to learn new things
- The steps they take to simplify and convey important information
- The way in which they evaluate their own mistakes
3. Knowledge and Experience
You must always choose an attorney who can demonstrate that they know the law and who has a track record of success in sexual harassment cases. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been practicing the law for decades. A fairly young lawyer may be highly knowledgeable and have won most of their cases since they started their practice. Look for a lawyer who can provide references from previous clients.
4. Honesty and Openness
A good lawyer must also be able to communicate with you openly. They won’t hide the “ugly” details of the process but find ways to convey them less threateningly. Some traits that may describe an honest lawyer include:
- They talk about their past mistakes
- They are transparent regarding fees and timelines
- They thoroughly explain your odds of winning and refrain from offering false hope
Along with a strategy, there are many administrative steps to follow before and during a court process. A good lawyer must be highly organized to comply with court dates and filing specifications. Be aware that a simple mistake in following proper procedure may translate into a much longer process (for example, if the court needs to reschedule hearings).
Another reason you need a very organized lawyer is that they will manage critical personal documents, and misplacing them may have consequences.
A lawyer should never make you feel judged, especially regarding a sexual harassment claim. An attorney may disagree with your assertions, but to successfully defend you, they need to put themselves in your situation and understand it on a personal level.
7. Attention to Detail
Sometimes, the keys to winning a case are hidden in the small details (such as slight changes in tone in communications or an insult disguised as an apology). A reasonable attorney will be able to analyze those details with you as part of your strategy. Other important details that may act in your favor are filing mistakes (when a form or document submitted by the other party fails to comply with court rules).
A lawyer with a creative approach may help you negotiate better settlements or provide essential insights during the discovery process. While the law leaves little room for creativity (as certain conditions must always be met), creativity can be exercised in many steps of the process, such as when interviewing witnesses or making statements.
Do You Need a Sexual Harassment Attorney?
Consulting with a lawyer is a good idea from the moment the harassment occurs. While initially, you need to report the incident to your employer and wait for them to exercise corrective actions, you may need to start building a file in case you need to go to the labor board or court (if you are seeking damages compensation). Sexual harassment lawyers in Kansas City can advise you regarding how to communicate with your superiors, the type of evidence that you need to gather, and when to seek additional help.
If you determine that you need a lawyer, it’s essential to take your time and compare and contrast your options. No attorney is perfect, so you need to choose the crucial qualities for your case, regardless of personal opinions and feelings.
Never let your employer prevent you from seeking legal counsel, as it is a fundamental right. Also, keep in mind that retaliation against employees who file sexual harassment complaints is forbidden by law in Missouri. If you feel you are a victim of retaliation, immediately communicate with your lawyer, who can offer valuable advice in handling the situation.