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12 important questions you should ask before you hire a lawyer

12 important questions you should ask before you hire a lawyer

The top questions to ask an attorney to see if they’re suitable to handle your case

Most people who need a service ask specific questions to help them make a good decision, and this same approach should also be taken by someone who’s in need of legal services.

Questioning an attorney could be intimidating especially since they’re versed in the very industry you’re seeking help in. But as you begin your search for the perfect attorney, you might not always know what types of questions you should ask. To ensure you’re setting your case up for success, we’re giving easy-to-follow pointers on what to ask before hiring an attorney.

Your lawyer literally influences the outcome of your case. This means that the process of finding a good lawyer to represent you should be grounded in research and careful discernment.

12 QUESTIONS TO ASK A LAWYER BEFORE HIRING:

Regarding Their Experience:

1. Are you a generalist or a specialist?

Since the legal field covers various industries and subject matters, it’s exceedingly rare to find a lawyer who’s versed in several sects of law. Typically, as is the case for most professionals, they tend to specialize and focus on a specific legal field. For example, our firm covers over 10 practice areas  but we specialize in personal injury and/or death.
Related article(s): Briggs Law Corporation – The Most Important Questions to Ask a Lawyer in an Interview

2. How long have you practiced law?

This may seem like a question that’s so simple and obvious, you might not think to ask it; however, in the assessment of a lawyer’s experience, consider the complexity of your case.

You may not require an extensively experienced lawyer. Instead, you could opt for one with fewer years under their belt as a more affordable option. And if your case requires the knowledge of a seasoned attorney, be sure that your lawyer qualifies.

3. a) What Types of Cases Do You Manage? b) Have you ever handled this type of case before? c) How Many Similar Cases Have You Taken On?

A) It’s important that your legal representative thoroughly understands the subject matter of your case. Be sure to inquire about the specifics of their experiences — when and where these experiences took place, their outcomes, and more.

B) You’ll want to know specifically what kind of cases the attorney manages to see if your particular case will be a good fit. Ultimately, the attorney will want to handle a case they’re versed in and have experience in.

C) In relation to the previous sub-questions, it’s okay to ask the lawyer how many cases similar to yours they’ve won. Remember: this is a “job interview” for the attorney. It’s similar to an employer asking you how about previous successes that are relevant to the role for which you’re applying.

4. Do you practice in the courthouse where my case will take place?

It may be beneficial for your lawyer to have practiced in the same courthouse where your case will be. They will have had interacted with and experiences its judge and can, therefore, evaluate the expectations for your case.

5. Who is your typical client?

Consider who your attorney has worked with most often. Are their clients typically corporations or individuals? These unique experiences could influence how they approach and handle your case.

Also, make sure to understand the demographics of their typical clients. Do they hold a high net worth, or are they recent college graduates? Consider where you sit on this spectrum before finalizing a decision.

6. Aside from your law degree and experience, what additional training or knowledge could you apply to my case?

Each case differs immensely from the next. If your lawyer has unique experience pertaining to your particular situation, they could offer advantageous knowledge and understanding. For example, a lawyer who’s worked in the food & beverage industry in the past could benefit you if you have a slip-and-fall case that took place in a restaurant.

This may seem like a question that’s so simple and obvious, you might not think to ask it; however, in the assessment of a lawyer’s experience, consider the complexity of your case.

You may not require an extensively experienced lawyer. Instead, you could opt for one with fewer years under their belt as a more affordable option. And if your case requires the knowledge of a seasoned attorney, be sure that your lawyer qualifies.

In Regard To Your Case Evaluation:

 

7. What do you believe is the likely outcome of my case?

You need to know if you have a solid case. No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, a good attorney will be completely honest with you and should be able to provide a thorough assessment of your case to give you an idea of what results you can expect. They won’t want to waste their time on a case that won’t gain them a thing.
Related article(s): AskTheLawyers – 10 Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer You’re Meeting for the First Time

8. What fees and expenses can I expect?

It’s important that you’re provided with the exact amount of services upfront. There are a few ways your lawyer might apply a charge. They can have:

• Fixed Rate
• Hourly Fees
• Contingency Fee

In the last option, the lawyer will be awarded a portion of the money won in a successful trial.

Whatever the case, make sure to have a good understanding of these expenses and expectations before proceeding.

9. What strategy do you plan to implement to represent me?

In short, you’re asking the lawyer how they plan to win your case. Your attorney should have a specific strategy with which to approach your case. Some cases are straightforward; others are more cutthroat. If you’re among the latter, having an attorney that can “go for the jugular” might be the best option for you. Ask the attorney to explain this plan in detail, along with its benefits and potential setbacks.

In regard to their case management:

 

10. What is the anticipated time frame for the case?

You should ask for an estimate on how long your case might come to a settlement. Though your lawyer may have little control over the pace of your case, they should be able to provide you with a general timeline.

11. How will we communicate?

Like any relationship, the lawyer-client relationship needs solid communication. Gain a good understanding of how information will be shared between you and the lawyer/their team in addition to the expectations for each party’s communication.

12. What role should I assume in preparation for the case?

It’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t do to help your lawyer in your case. Attorneys desire different levels of participation from their clients. You may be expected to collect documents or complete tasks that only you’re capable of completing. Your attorney might not want you to talk to witnesses or the insurance company without prior approval. Nonetheless, what you can expect is for your lawyer to ask you to reserve several aspects of the case to them.

Related questions to ask regarding your in the case:

• What do you need from me to build the strongest possible case?
• What should I avoid in order to win my claim?
Related article(s): C&S – Questions to Ask Your Lawyer During a Consultation

IN CONCLUSION
Hiring a lawyer is an exceptionally important process. Though these questions may serve as guides, you should also implement your own discernment when selecting an attorney. And if you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us at The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro.

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