10 Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer You’re Meeting for the First Time
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Consultations with a lawyer are an important stage of the process: you’re meeting up with an attorney for the first time on a case that could have a significant impact on you and your loved ones. You’ll want to make sure you’re dealing with a true professional. If not, you move on. That’s the point of the consultation. You’re trying out the ‘fit’ of that lawyer to your case, and if it works, you move forward with it.
In Order to Move Forward With Any Lawyer, First Ask These Ten Questions
Think of the consultation as an interview. You’re hiring the lawyer. Put the attorney to the test, starting with this question….
1. How Long Have You Practiced Law?
There’s, of course, no right answer to this one. The more experienced can serve as a more confident guide, but even the budding attorney hungry for that first case could pass with flying colors. It’s simply important to know whether or not you’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing. Also make sure you know what areas of law they work with the most.
2. What Types of Cases Do You Manage?
We’re going granular here, defining exactly just how good of a fit the lawyer might be. You’ll want to know specifically what kind of cases he/she manages to see if your particular case will be a good fit. Ultimately the attorney will want to handle a case he/she knows with experience as well.
In many areas of law, all lawyers will charge a similar percentage of your winnings for their attorney fees. That said, why not go with someone who has experience with your specific type of case?
3. Who’s Your Typical Client?
Before you wonder why this one’s asked when it sounds so much like the previous one, know this: there are two different types of clients…. Business and individual. If you’re just an individual looking for representation, you’re going to want a lawyer that works specifically with individuals and not businesses.
4. How Many Similar Cases Have You Taken On?
Better yet, ask that lawyer how many he or she has won. You don’t need to be shy about it. Remember: this is a “job interview” for the attorney.
5. What Kind of Special Training or Knowledge You Have Outside Your Law Degree?
Why ask this? Even with some of the most common niches—like family law, or criminal law—you have specific “sub-niches” you’ll want to know about. For instance: attorneys specializing in DUIs within criminal law might be the best to go for if that’s, in fact, what you’re facing.
If you see that the attorney is board-certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, this is a great sign. These attorneys have years of courtroom experience and must pass rigorous examination and testing.
6. What Are Your Fees and Costs?
Ask how you’re billed. Will it be on upfront retainer? Will attorney fees be taken out of a verdict or settlement? Important things to think about especially if you don’t have the funds right away. You’ll also obviously want to know if you can afford the lawyer.
7. How Would You Represent Me?
In short, you’re asking the lawyer how he or she would win your case. This defines for you the kind of attorney you want on your side. Some cases are very simple and straightforward. Others can get pretty cutthroat. If you’re among the latter, having an attorney that can “go for the jugular” might be best suited for you.
8. What Alternatives Do I Have?
Just because you’re consulting the attorney doesn’t mean you have to hire him/her. There’s nothing wrong with asking if going the lawyer route is the best way. In the legal industry, there a variety of processes moving forward. Sometimes an arbitrator would be suitable. You can arrange things out of court without the need for an attorney, too. And the reason for asking is that you might have considerably less cost to worry about.
9. How Will You Let Me Know What’s Going on With My Case?
Communication is essential. How often you’ll hear from your attorney will determine just how satisfied you are with the progress. Find out if you'll be receiving phone calls, texts, or emails, and how often.
10. Finally, Will I Win or Lose?
You need to know if you have a solid case. A good attorney will be completely honest with you. They won’t want to waste their time on a meritless case. You can then compare, and if you keep getting second opinions, you’ll have an eye for someone who just wants to get paid versus one who actually cares about you and your case.
Finding the Right Lawyer Is The First Step in Winning Your Case
You are, after all, as good as your representation. Your lawyer speaks for you. Therefore make sure you speak with that lawyer first to ensure he/she is the right one for the job. Find the best lawyer for you today.