Don’t be intimidated when you first meet with an attorney for an initial consultation. Keep in mind that you are the one who is in charge of making hiring and firing decisions. By asking the right questions, you can greatly improve your chances of finding the most qualified attorney.
What kinds of inquiries should I make?
Inquire about the lawyer’s experience and practice areas. How long has the lawyer been practicing law and also how long has the firm been in business? What are the most common legal issues that the lawyer deals with? Are the majority of your customers individuals or businesses?
Is it appropriate to inquire as to whether or not someone else will be handling my case?
Yes. Inquire if nonlawyers, such as legal professionals or law clerks, will be used in the case’s research and preparation. If that’s the case, would they be charged separately for their solutions? If your lawyer is uncertain about certain aspects of your case, who will be consulted? If this lawyer or firm is unable to manage your case, would the lawyer suggest another attorney or firm?
Precise experience is always important. For instance, an Indianapolis nursing home abuse lawyer will be much better suited to handle cases involving nursing home abuse than an attorney specialized in truck accidents.
What questions do I need to ask about fees and costs?
Fees are calculated in one of three ways: either by the hour, by the case, or by the amount of money earned in the transaction. In order to administer the case from start to finish, how much money would be required? When do you have to make the payment on the bill? Is it feasible to pay it in installments over the course of time? Request a formal statement that outlines the services that were given as well as the fees that were charged for each.
Should I inquire about the case’s potential outcome?
Certainly, but be wary of any attorney who promises a large payment or a court triumph. Remember that every legal problem has at least two sides, and numerous factors might influence how it is resolved. Inquire about the strengths and weaknesses of your case with the lawyer. Is it more likely that your lawyer will settle your lawsuit outside of court or will the matter go to trial? What are the benefits and drawbacks of settling? Are you thinking of going to court? What kind of trial experience does the lawyer have?
Should I inquire what will happen if the lawyer and I disagree at our first meeting?
Yes, the best time to inquire about resolving any difficulties is during your initial meeting. If the two of you are in a serious conflict, find out if the lawyer will agree to binding arbitration. Most state bar associations include arbitration committees that will resolve issues between you and your lawyer, such as over expenses, in exchange for a small fee. If you and your lawyer agree to submit your cases to a third-party panel for binding arbitration, you and your lawyer are agreeing to accept the panel’s decision as final.