Lawyers are essential components of our legal system that strive to ensure justice is served. Who knows, perhaps you will need to seek guidance from one of them in the future for any number of reasons. If you ever find yourself in need of legal counsel and/or representation, it is wise to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. During this consultation, it’s important to get to know more about the person who will provide you with professional legal aid. For this reason, we’ve compiled the following list of 10 questions to ask a lawyer during your consultation.
- How long have you been practicing law? Experience is an important element to inquire about a potential lawyer. Perhaps a fresh, beginner attorney could address your legal issue, or maybe a veteran attorney would be a better fit. Regardless, this is the first question to ask a lawyer you’re thinking about hiring.
- What is your area of expertise? There are numerous areas of law, and lawyers can specialize in one or several of them. The important thing is to find one who practices in the area you need. For instance, if your legal issue pertains to an eminent domain matter, you need to find an attorney who specializes in real estate law as opposed to, say, family law.
- Do you have any special training in addition to your law degree? Not all lawyers are the same. In fact, some possess special awards and accolades obtained by special training and continued study. Be sure to ask a lawyer this question during the first consultation. His or her answer could affect the outcome of your case.
- Who do you typically represent? It’s important to ask a potential lawyer this question because he or she needs to have represented people in similar situations as yours. If you find that a potential lawyer hasn’t really dealt with clients similar to you, he or she may not be the right fit for you.
- How many cases like mine have you handled? Don’t be afraid to ask a lawyer about his or her track record. If he or she doesn’t have much experience dealing with situations like yours, ask if there’s an associate who could help, or go elsewhere.
- Are there any alternative methods of addressing my legal issue? Going to court to settle disputes tends to be expensive and time consuming. Ask a lawyer you’re thinking about hiring if he or she would suggest other ways to address your case, like mediation or arbitration.
- Can you perceive the possible outcome(s) to my case? Don’t be intimidated to ask a lawyer about the anticipated outcome to your case. The answer you get may not be the one you want, but it will prepare you for the road ahead.
- What would be your approach to handling my case? Some cases need to be handled with less-aggressive tactics than other cases. Ask a lawyer this question to decide if he or she will employ the proper methods to handle your case.
- What are your attorney fees and associated legal costs? How do you handle billing? The fact of the matter is solid legal representation comes at a price. You should know how much you’re willing to spend from the beginning. If you ask a lawyer this question and the answer is a bit higher than you expected, it might be wise to inquire about other ways of addressing your issue.
- How will you communicate with me about what’s going on with my case? It’s important to ask a lawyer this question because you need to stay abreast of how your case is progressing and know about important upcoming dates. Communication is key.
The above are vital questions to ask a lawyer before you decide to hire him or her, but it’s not an all-inclusive list. If you can think of any other questions or concerns to voice to a lawyer during the preliminary meeting, by all means ask.