I know it is not very ideal for me to be writing this myself as I am a lawyer, but I have gained experience in the past few years learning the tricks of the market by providing my clients with legal services from not just myself, but my highly qualified colleagues. I also know that many lawyers, attorneys, legal consultants and other legal professionals will not be very happy with me disclosing this information. I have learned the very insensitive way that some lawyers perceive the legal profession as a purely commercial profession, to make the highest profit possible for their work. So it is important to not just trust your lawyer, but to investigate your lawyers’ morals and work ethics before signing them on.
Question: I am about to hire a lawyer to represent me against my husband at court as he has filed a case against me. I called a lawyer, requested to meet with her and I asked her over the phone how much the legal fees will be. She said it will be around KD 3,000. Do you think this is acceptable?
Fajer: From experience, I am not so concerned with the amount that the lawyer is asking for; different lawyers will have different fees according to the service they provide, and that includes their location and secretaries, the languages they provide, etc. What I am very concerned about though is the fact that some lawyers can give quotations of their fees without sitting with the client, and without knowing if you have children or not. If your lawyer does not know what work is required from them and the extent of it, then how can they give you a quotation?
Signing a contract
Question: I am about to sign a contract with a lawyer and was wondering if you have any advice on what to keep an eye out for?
Fajer: There are many things to be weary of when signing any contract in general. The most important thing though for any contract is that the obligations and responsibilities of each party are clearly written out. It is highly important that both parties involved understand what is required from them.
Let me give an example. When signing the service agreement with your lawyer for an employment case, your contract should clearly state what your lawyer is asking on your behalf by writing out all the benefits that you are rightfully entitled to. So the contract between your lawyer and yourself would mention for example that your lawyer will obtain your termination indemnity plus your economy return class ticket to your home and remuneration for your off days, etc.
The payments should be agreed on in the contract; this includes the amount to be paid, the dates of payment and the preferred method of payment for the amounts mentioned.
Also keep in mind that if the lawyer is representing you for any cases or issues that involve them obtaining money on your behalf, then your contract should include their method of payment to you. Will they obtain the money from court in their name and then transfer it to you? And if so, when will they pay you back?
Question: I got terminated recently and my employer has not paid me my termination indemnity or any other benefits. I would like to hire a lawyer on my behalf to obtain the amounts for me, but I have to leave Kuwait. Can lawyers represent me in courts even if I am not in Kuwait?
Fajer: Yes, lawyers and attorneys in general can represent their clients without their presence. In some cases, the judge might request that the client be present, as the judge or public prosecutor might want to investigate more, especially in criminal cases. As a general rule of thumb though, lawyers can represent their clients even if they are not in Kuwait.
With that said, a lawyer will not be able to represent you in Kuwait without a Power of Attorney (POA). There are different templates for POAs in Kuwait, and I suggest that you read them carefully (the document is always in Arabic) as they could give your lawyer the right to obtain money on your behalf, proceed with governmental transactions and possibly even sell your possessions.
As I said above though, it is important for you to trust your lawyer. Practically speaking, it can be difficult for your lawyer to explain every single detail of your case. I have seen lawyers that base their legal fees according to “how annoying their client is.” Yes, honestly. If the client is too demanding in the beginning, asks a lot of questions or calls all the time, then lawyers will bring up their quotation.
A huge part of my job is finding the right lawyer for my readers. I get a large number of requests for legal services on a daily basis. Most lawyers are specialized in a specific area of law whether it be commercial law, employment law, family law, criminal law, etc. Therefore, my advice is to always ask for your lawyers’ credentials. Just because your friend’s lawyer was very successful for him, it does not mean he will be the same with you! Also, I strongly advice that you try to negotiate things looking for a win-win situation before getting a lawyer (and ask your lawyer to negotiate on your behalf before going to court!)
For any legal questions or queries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed