When you’re looking to hire a lawyer, you’ll most often begin with a consultation. During this time, you and your potential attorney discuss the specifics of your situation. To determine the eligibility of your case, your lawyer will have a lot of questions for you! But it’s equally important that you come prepared with your own questions, too, before you make the big decision to hire. Read on to learn what you need to know before hiring a lawyer. The following questions are an excellent place to start!
1. How long have you been practicing?
Before hiring a lawyer, ask how long they have been practicing law. The issue you need help with may best be handled by a lawyer who has years of experience, or it may very well be handled by a beginner. It all depends on your unique situation.
2. How many cases have you handled that were similar to mine?
Knowing whether a lawyer has handled similar cases to yours can help you determine if they are the right fit for you. For example, suppose you need help with a car accident personal injury case. In such a case, it is best to hire a lawyer who regularly handles those types of cases.
3. Are my goals realistic? And what is the likelihood of achieving those goals?
A good lawyer should tell you if you have unrealistic goals and give you alternative options. A good lawyer will not pursue your goals if they are unachievable and will provide their honest opinion even if it isn’t what you want to hear. Now is a good time to set reasonable expectations. Like many things in life, generally, if what the lawyer says sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
4. Are there alternative ways of solving my legal problem?
Always ask a lawyer if going to court is your only option. A good lawyer should tell you if your case can be resolved through other less expensive and time-consuming options such as mediation and arbitration.
5. What is your approach to representing a case?
Sometimes, you may wish to settle your case outside of court, but you need the help of an attorney. In situations like this, it’s important to ask how a lawyer plans to approach your case. For example, suppose yours is a personal injury case, and you only wish to settle your case outside of court if the at-fault party’s insurance company gives you a fair settlement. In such a case, if the lawyer you are meeting with settles all their cases outside of court and has never litigated a case, they may not be the right fit for you. In such a case, you need a lawyer who is ready to fight for you before a judge or jury.
6. If I hire your firm, will you be the lawyer handling my case?
During your initial consultation with a law firm, you might be surprised to learn that the person you are meeting is not a lawyer; they may be a “lawyer” salesman. You must ask this question to ensure that you are talking to the actual lawyer who will handle your case. Before signing the dotted line, you should always meet the person you’ll be working most closely with.
7. What is your fee structure and billing process?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a lawyer before hiring them. Possible fees might include;
- Contingent fee
- Hourly rate
- Flat fee
- Retainer fee
- Statutory fee
Even though it is often impossible for a lawyer to give an exact figure, having an approximate figure can help you determine if you can afford the lawyer and budget accordingly.
8. Who else in the firm will handle my case?
Other people might be involved in your case, and you must know who these people are and how their hours will be billed. Usually, the hours of the other people who assist your lawyer with your case will be billed at a lower rate than that of your lawyer. For example, your lawyer could involve other lawyers, paralegals, and junior attorneys.
9. How long should I expect my case to take?
It can be challenging for a lawyer to tell you exactly how long your case will take, but they can give you an estimated timeframe. Knowing this timeframe can help you make an informed decision.
10. What should be my biggest concern?
Most cases have bad facts that can influence the outcome. After listening to you explain the details of your case, a lawyer should be able to identify any bad facts in your case and tell you how you can mitigate any negative effects those facts could have on your case.
Get the Help You Need Today
Now that you know what you should ask before hiring a lawyer, we hope that you can go into your consultations feeling more confident. At The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, we proudly serve Montgomery County, Illinois, and the surrounding areas, including Macoupin County. Whatever your legal needs, our attorneys will fight to help ensure your rights are protected. Get in touch today to request an initial consultation.