How to Ask About a Lawyer’s Experience
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tom Metier with Metier Law Firm.
Choosing an attorney can feel overwhelming, and for those without experience in the legal industry, it can be hard to know how to choose. A good way to tell whether or not an attorney is the right choice for you and your case is to ask them questions. If you can find the definitive answers for your questions on an attorney’s website, it may help to note that many attorneys offer free consultations in which a potential client can ask whatever question their heart desires. A lawyer’s experience successfully handling cases like yours is one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing to hire an attorney.
The following questions can give you an idea about a lawyer’s experience before hiring them:
- What percentage of cases do you represent in this practice area? Many lawyers represented cases in different practice areas. For example, a personal injury attorney may represent product liability cases, medical malpractice cases, and workplace injury cases. If you are looking for legal representation to help with a workplace injury case, what percentage of an attorney’s caseload is typically dedicated to this area? If an attorney’s experience skews heavily to another practice area, there might be a better choice for representation available.
- What kind of trial experience do you have? It’s important to ask what kind of experience a lawyer has taking cases to trial rather than settling out. Board-certified trial attorneys are a great choice for any issue which is unlikely to settle fairly outside of court, although these attorneys will also know how to pursue a fair settlement as well. Hiring an attorney with dedicated trial experience is a good way to protect yourself in any scenario; in fact, some defendants keep track of successful trial attorneys and are more likely to settle fairly right away to avoid the hassle of losing in court.
- Are you board certified? Attorneys who have worked a certain number of years in their practice area and who have handled a certain percentage of cases in that same area may apply to become board certified. Board certification in any practice area is a big achievement that requires proof of competence, exams, and more. Attorneys can be certified in everything from trial law to truck accident law, and it never hurts to ask. These certifications can be verified by checking your state’s board certification website for the attorney’s name.
- What kind of cases have you handled that are like mine? While an attorney cannot typically discuss the details of another client’s case, it doesn’t hurt to ask about their experience handling cases like yours. For example, if you were injured by a defective crockpot, you can ask if they have handled defective kitchen appliance cases before, and if so, how successful they were. When a lawyer has successfully litigated multiple cases similar to yours, this can bode well for your case’s chance of success.
- How successful have you and your firm been in litigating cases like this one? It doesn’t hurt to ask what percentage of success a firm has experienced handling cases in your practice area. A law firm with a high percentage rate is preferable to one that is low or unwilling to discuss it. An attorney should always be forthright about a case’s possibility of success, as well as their own experience.
To learn more about how to choose a lawyer or for help locating an attorney in your area, reach out to AskTheLawyers™.