When you decide to file a lawsuit or you are defending yourself against criminal charges, you need to hire the right lawyer. You want a lawyer who will work with you, listen to you and keep you informed. It’s important to choose one that is experienced and can help you with your particular problem. Here are 10 questions to ask to help you find the right attorney for your particular case.
Questions to Ask
1) Have you ever handled a case like this before?
Experience is everything when you walk into a courtroom, and you want to know that your lawyer has handled cases like yours before. If not, then you may want to continue your search.
2) How much experience do you have in this area of law?
Every lawyer has a specialty, and you will benefit by finding one that specializes in the area of law you need help with. Look for a lawyer who is highly skilled not only in general law, but also in your particular area of need.
3) What are the possible outcomes of this case?
A good lawyer will inform you of the positive and potentially negative outcomes so you can make an informed decision about proceeding with the case.
4) Do I have any other alternatives for resolving the problem?
Mediation and arbitration are sometimes a better choice, so look for an attorney that can provide you with relevant information and help you make the right choice.
5) How long do you expect the process to take?
No lawyer can give you an exact answer, but a good one will be able to give you a general timeframe. It could take months, years or decades, and your lawyer should be able to explain why your case may take longer than others.
6) How will you keep me informed about the case?
Most lawyers charge you by the minute every time you talk on the phone. With Email correspondence, you can stay informed without accidentally driving up your rates. However, you also want the ability to call and ask questions if you have them.
7) What is your hourly rate and how will you bill me?
Some lawyers require a retainer ahead of time to cover initial expenses. Others will take a case on a pro bono basis for charity, or you may be able to pay them in full out of any potential settlement.
8) What do you expect the case to cost?
As with the timeframe, the lawyer will not be able to provide you with an exact amount. However, he or she should be able to give you a general idea of the court costs and labor expenses associated with your type of case.
9) Do you have anyone else who will be working on my case?
Assistants and interns working on your case can speed up the time frame and help you save money, but it may also increase the risk of errors. If junior attorneys or other team members will be assisting, find out how the lawyer guarantees the high quality work and representation you need.
10) What kind of approach will you use?
They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but you may want a more aggressive approach for some cases. Find out if the attorney will be aggressive or will be more agreeable to reaching a settlement, and ask why the attorney uses that particular approach.