Hiring a lawyer can be as important as hiring a doctor. Though taking on the right attorney won’t guarantee that the case will be won, it goes far in making sure that the lawyer and the client are comfortable with each other, understand each other and share the same goals when it comes to the case. The client should not be at all shy about asking an attorney a battery of questions. They should be written down so the client doesn’t forget them. Following are five essential questions a potential client should ask:
1. How long has the attorney been practicing?
This lets the client know something about the lawyer’s experience. Depending on the case, the client may opt for a lawyer with much experience in handling cases like theirs or a novice who is hungry and eager to take the case on.
2. Who is the lawyer’s average client?
This is important because some lawyers specialize in corporations or small businesses as opposed to individuals. When it comes to individuals, some lawyers work best with wealthier clients while others do their best work with clients who do not have lots of resources. The client may also want to ask how much of the lawyer’s business concerns practice areas such as:
• Family law
• Business and commercial law
• Personal injury law
• Criminal law
3. What are the attorney’s fees?
The client should know whether or not they can afford the attorney they are interviewing. They should ask how they will be billed and what payment options are available to them. Some lawyers turn over aspects of their cases to their legal assistants or paralegals. In that case, the client should ask if the fees can be reduced.
4. How will the attorney and client communicate?
It is important that the attorney keep the client up-to-date on their case. It’s also important for the client to be able to reach the attorney or a member of their staff if they have questions or concerns. The lawyer should let the client know when and how they’ll be contacted and when and how the client can contact the lawyer’s office.
5. How many cases has the lawyer represented that are like the client’s case?
The attorney should honestly answer the client’s question when in comes to how many similar cases they’ve taken on and how many were won, lost or settled.
A list of questions is one of the criteria through which a client should select a lawyer. It is equally important for the client to have a positive reaction to the lawyer. The client will need to trust the lawyer over the course of the case. This will be difficult to do if the client does not feel comfortable with them or feels they are not competent.