If you’ve never hired a lawyer before, it can be tricky to know what you should look for.
When choosing a lawyer, there are some general questions that you can ask to help hone in on what you require. These questions will put you on the right track to hiring a lawyer with your interests at heart.
So now, let’s run through seven important questions to ask when hiring a lawyer.
1. What the Attorney’s Experience?
Don’t dismiss an attorney because they have only been practicing for a few years.
Some of the best lawyers are those who have just started out. This is because they carefully read the rules, laws, and other regulations. They want to minimize mistakes that could be damaging to their career.
Also, newer lawyers tend to enroll in various continuing legal education courses to improve their confidence and skills.
Of course, the right veteran lawyer with mountains of experience can be very knowledgeable and will likely have seen many cases similar to yours. So the best advice here is not to be too general in your search but instead run through attorneys on a more individual basis.
One good way of gauging a lawyer is to ask for references and previous cases to view over. As well, you can check out testimonials if they have any on their website.
2. Is the Lawyer a Generalist or a Specialist?
Not every lawyer is the same. Some lawyers specialize in specific areas of law, while others practice in a variety of fields and provide a more comprehensive service.
There are general practitioners and specialists, just as there are in medicine. And each of these types of lawyers has a unique set of talents and experience.
In each area of law, a generalist lawyer will gain all-rounder capabilities. Because generalist lawyers frequently work in small or general practice firms, this is the case. This is typical in smaller towns and cities, where there may be a limited number of lawyers to handle the varied range of clientele.
Specialist lawyers, on the other hand, have particular skill sets and knowledge. And, many specialized lawyers focus on a single topic of law.
To qualify, specialist lawyers must have practiced law for five years and in their specialized area three years. As a result, specialized lawyers are knowledgeable in both general and specialty law.
It’s obviously best to select a specialist lawyer who has experience advising on your specific legal problem. Due to their knowledge and competence, specialists also tend to charge higher prices though.
For example, you might be looking for a specialist in motorcycle and auto accident personal injury claims?
Ultimately, figure out the extent of your issue and whether it deserves specialist attention. A general lawyer may have loads of experience dealing with similar problems such as yours, meaning you don’t have to break the bank going to a specialist.
3. Will They Be Your Primary Attorney?
When you go for a consultation, you may meet with the senior attorney. But, the firm’s plan may be to assign your file to an underling, depending on the firm’s structure.
If that’s the case, the firm should be open and honest with you about who will be working on your case, and you should feel confident in their decision.
To properly represent you, attorneys must ask for sensitive information. So if you are uncomfortable with the attorney, you may not be as forthcoming with information as you should be.
Before you hire a lawyer, ensure you know who is dealing with your case and feel comfortable with them.
4. What’s the Lawyer’s Estimation for Fees and Expenses?
It’s a good idea to shop around and get a grasp of different lawyers’ fees so you can make a comparison. In most cases, you get what you pay for, as more successful lawyers can charge more.
When you’re close to signing a contract, the cost of fees, expenses, and services should indeed be stated in a retainer agreement, but you should double-check.
Even in contingency fee situations, when the lawyer only gets paid if you win your case, the client is usually responsible for all expenses.
Small expenses like photocopies can build up over time. These fees could be well over $100 every month, depending on the circumstances. On the other hand, some lawyers believe that photocopies and faxes should be included in the charge customers pay.
5. Do They Have a Client Response Policy?
Lawyers will prioritize their cases in a variety of ways.
Some will have a first-in, first-out policy. Others will go by future court dates or prioritize where you are with your payment status for deciding whether you get quicker response times from them.
Then there are even instances of favoritism among attorneys and clients. So it’s essential to fully understand how your lawyer operates regarding client response times and methods.
The most crucial element is that the lawyer communicates well with clients and keeps you updated on your case. Most people don’t mind waiting a few days for a response from their lawyer as long as they know their lawyer won’t forget them.
Yet hiring a lawyer that promises the world and then puts your case to the bottom of the pile isn’t going to be ideal. Testimonials and references can help you find the truth about a lawyer so you can avoid this type of circumstance.
6. Should You Work With A Paralegal?
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on your case, why not consider hiring a paralegal? A paralegal can handle a lot of the work under the attorney’s direct supervision. This saves you money.
An experienced team will make document revisions rapidly, resulting in a lower overall cost than hiring an attorney to accomplish everything.
7. Does Professional Liability Insurance cover the Lawyer?
In most US states, professional liability insurance is not required by law. At least 26 states, on the other hand, compel attorneys who do not carry malpractice insurance to notify their clients that they are not covered.
It’s better if an attorney does have this type of insurance, as if they do something wrong with your case, the issue can get resolved quickly. If they don’t have this insurance and have exercised malpractice, you might have to go through the painstaking process of suing them.
Hiring a Lawyer the Right Way
If you ask these seven questions when hiring a lawyer, you should be well on your way to gaining solid legal representation. And hiring a paralegal is worth considering if you wish to cut your costs, especially for more complex and paperwork-heavy cases.
Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your case. Feel free to check out our blog for other informative reads.