A recent report by the US Bureau of Labor stated there were over 681,000 attorneys in the country.
This can seem like great news if you’re looking for a lawyer as there are so many who will be hoping to represent your interests.
But what should you ask before hiring an attorney? Unless you work with a lawyer on a regular basis, you may be unsure which qualities are most important in a legal professional.
To help you find the right attorney for your needs, we’re going to list 11 questions that you can put to a lawyer before hiring their services.
Read on to find out more.
1. What Are Your Credentials?
Many lawyers will have gone the route of four years of undergraduate studying, three years of law school, and then sitting the bar exam.
But, some states do not require you to attend law school and instead offer the option to go through an apprenticeship period.
One approach is not necessarily better than the other, and there are many fine lawyers who have taken different paths to becoming an attorney.
The key is to ensure that your preferred lawyer is qualified and capable of handling your case.
2. How Long Have You Been Practicing?
As in any profession, it’s common for people to make mistakes as they learn their trade.
However, you don’t want your lawsuit to be a learning experience for a new attorney.
You’ll be eager to work with a legal professional who has the knowledge and experience to get the best result without making any errors during your case.
Therefore, you may want to ask how long a lawyer has been practicing. If they have been honing their skills for many years, this can give you the confidence that they’ll be able to help you win your lawsuit.
3. Do You Specialize In My Type of Case?
Even though an attorney may be qualified to act on your behalf, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice to do so.
For example, a generalist attorney may practice business law, entertainment law, and accident law.
But if you’ve been in an accident, you’ll want to work with specialists who focus solely on this type of case.
These experts will have a greater understanding of how to win your case and get you the maximum amount of compensation.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident and need legal representation, find out more on Alpha Accident Lawyers.
4. What Will Be Your Strategy?
Rather than wondering how an attorney will tackle your case, it can be reassuring to learn about their strategy.
This can help you understand how they will approach your case and gain insight into how they are trying to win.
You may also notice there are aspects that have been missed, and you can mention these factors in case they could positively influence your case.
By providing input, you could find your lawyer is glad you took an interest in how your lawsuit is being handled.
5. Who Will Work On My Case?
When you meet with an attorney, you’ll be evaluating them as they’ll be representing your interests.
If you form a favorable opinion, you’ll be delighted they’ll be working on your lawsuit.
Therefore, after you hire them, you won’t want to find out that a colleague has taken over responsibility and you’ll now be dealing with someone you haven’t spoken to previously.
This is why it’s important to discuss this factor during your initial consultation. Should a lawyer advise that they will be overseeing your case rather than handling it directly, you can decide if this is satisfactory.
6. How Will We Communicate?
Communication is a vital part of working with an attorney. Lawsuits can take time, and you won’t want to be wondering what is happening with your case.
If an attorney is difficult to contact or doesn’t reply to your queries, this can cause unnecessary stress during an already difficult time.
While a client needs to understand that a lawyer has other clients and is busy, they should also expect to be kept up to date with their case. This could be via a regular telephone call or email.
You can also ask when you can expect a reply should you make an inquiry. If you can agree on a timeframe of one or two days, this can reassure you that you’ll be kept informed throughout the duration of your lawsuit.
7. Is My Case Likely To Be Successful?
This can be a tricky question to answer. Lawyers can not guarantee that you’ll win your case, and you should be wary of an attorney who makes promises they can’t keep.
But the best attorney will be open and honest with their opinions. They may be able to point to past successes that suggest your lawsuit should go in your favor.
They may also indicate that there is a reasonable chance your case could be unsuccessful, and you’ll need to decide if you agree with their assessment.
While, on one hand, you may see it from their point of view, you could also decide that you need new legal representation.
By knowing how your attorney sees your case from the start, you can make a more informed decision.
8. What Is My Case Worth?
This is another query that can be difficult to answer. Again, attorneys do not decide if your case should succeed or what it is worth.
However, if a lawyer values your claim below what other cases have settled for, then this could be a sign that they don’t believe they can get the amount of compensation that you deserve.
If an attorney is unwilling to seek more remuneration, you might want to hire a different lawyer who has a more positive outlook.
9. How Long Will My Case Take?
Your case could be settled quickly, or it could take a long time. While this can sometimes be out of the control of an attorney, you won’t want to hire a lawyer that drags the process out longer than necessary. Instead, you should look for an attorney that is proactive.
If a lawyer says that they will chase up all the parties involved at regular intervals, this can help to settle your case as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if your legal professional says they will just have to wait and see what happens, this could be a warning sign that they will allow your lawsuit to run on for an extended period.
10. Do You Have Client Testimonials?
One of the best ways to evaluate lawyers is to ask if they keep a list of client testimonials.
If an attorney can show you they have plenty of positive reviews from previous clients, this can put your mind at rest.
In contrast, if a law firm doesn’t have any, or only a few, testimonials, this could be because they don’t provide a good service.
You can also look for online reviews about an attorney. You may find that they have many clients attesting that the legal help they received was invaluable.
If these reviews are verified and spread over a period of time, this can be an excellent sign that the lawyer provides a top-class service for their clients.
11. How Much Do You Charge?
While you can expect to pay a reasonable amount for legal services, there is no need to pay more than a fair market rate.
To avoid paying too much, you can ask for quotes from at least three lawyers. This will give you a good idea of how much companies charge for your type of lawsuit.
There is also the possibility a law firm will offer a no-win, no-fee service depending on your type of claim.
This can be an attractive option if you don’t have money available to pay for a lawsuit that might not go your way.
By asking about the fee structure at the start, you can budget for your upcoming case.
Ask These Questions Before Hiring An Attorney
Knowing what to ask before hiring an attorney can help you find a legal professional who can achieve the best result in your case.
You may want to inquire about their education and experience and also confirm they will be the person that is working on your case.
It can also be useful to find out how a lawyer hopes to win your case and to confirm their fees are transparent and fair.
Before you hire an attorney, check out more of our informative blog posts.