Lawyers usually charge a very nominal fee or provide a free consultation so that you can ask them all the questions you want to. You should not take this meeting lightly as it will help you decide if you need a lawyer at all and also if you should hire this particular lawyer. If you will hire the lawyer then you need to ask more questions regarding your case. So, you need to have every important question ready relating to special knowledge, fees, experience, and so on. To help make things easier for you, given below is a list of 12 questions to ask a lawyer.
1. For how long have you been practicing law?
It is very important for you to know how long the lawyer has been offering services, and if the lawyer is just a beginner or an expert. Even a lawyer who has just cleared his/her law school too may handle your case, and handle it really well.
2. What kind of clients do you usually serve?
This is more important than you may think. For instance, if you have some individual legal problem to be solved but the lawyer you have approached works only for corporations then this will not perhaps be the right choice for you.
3. What kind of cases do you usually handle and how much of your time is devoted to practicing the case in question?
You must learn about the experience of the lawyer and how much time has he/she devoted in practicing your kind of cases. For instance, if you need a lawyer to handle a divorce case, then you must try to find a lawyer who has the experience of working on divorce cases.
4. How many cases like that of mine have you already represented?
You should not hold yourself from asking any question coming to your mind, even this. You must ask the lawyer about his/her track record, the number of cases they have won or settled on, and so on.
5. Apart from a law degree, what other special knowledge or training do you have that may prove helpful to me?
You think you just need your attorney to have a law degree, well, think again. In certain cases, like patent and DUI case, it requires a lawyer to have special knowledge and training as it helps them represent your case in a much better way. Once you ask about their specialization also figure out if that will prove helpful for your case.
6. What will the expenses and fees be?
You must directly ask your lawyer how they will charge you for representation. In certain cases, they will charge you a fixed amount, and in others, they may charge an hourly rate. In such cases where you sue for monetary damage, your lawyer may charge a “contingency fee”. This means you will have to pay your attorney a certain part of the amount you receive after the successful settlement. You should learn about the attorney fees as well as the expenses. The expenses include everything from expert witnesses to things as small as photocopying. Though your attorney may not be able to quote you the exact amount, they still will give you a good understanding of the potential charges.
7. Who will handle my case?
Your attorney will be a part of a law firm and work with paralegal and junior associates. You must get to know who will be handling your case and in what capacity. Your lawyer may delegate routine tasks to firm employees who charge low hourly rates, and if this is the case, you will save some money. However, it is important that your attorney must be involved in all vital decisions and aspects of your case, and also let you know why a college will handle any matter related to your case.
8. What role will I play in case presentation?
You need to understand fully what role you will play, what is it that you should do to help your lawyer. You may usually need to provide background information and documents. Your lawyer may tell you not do any type of legal work or not to speak to any witnesses. Once your lawyer tells you how you can help, follow his/her instructions completely.
9. Can my case be solved in any other way?
Do ask your attorney if your legal problem can be handled in any other way, like through an out-of-court settlement. A good lawyer will never mind telling you if your case can be handled in any other way that will consume less time and money. Very actual for commecial litigation lawyers.
10. How will you keep me updated about the happenings of my case?
Communications is very important when you work with a lawyer. You should ask your attorney in what situation and how often he/she will communicate with you. You naturally would want to be updated with the proceedings of your case, about the dates, and how it is coming.
11. What is your viewpoint or approach to representing or winning a case?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a lawyer and can prove to be of help in two ways. Firstly, if you want your divorce case to be handled in a friendly manner, but your lawyer is an aggressive one then he/she will be of no good to you. Similarly, if you are in the search of an aggressive lawyer to handle a future merger case, for instance, then you may need someone who is ready to do almost anything to make you win, and an amicable lawyer will not work for you.
12. What likely will be the outcome of my case?
It will only be fair to ask your lawyer what are your chances of winning the case. You need not get any specific answer, and what you anyway need is an honest reply. For example, if you are involved in a nasty divorce case, you would want to know from your lawyer what can be expected so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Though different lawyers may give you different replies to these questions, you cannot take them as any guarantee. Just use these answers to evaluate the skill level, experience, and knowledge of the attorney, and if he/she is the ideal one for your case.