There are over a million attorneys operating in the US today, and there may come a time when you need to contact one of them. Many people hope that they won’t ever need to call on the services of a lawyer, leading safe, rule-abiding lives all the way, but even if you follow the rules and set a good example for others, you may still find yourself in a situation in which legal aid is needed.
You could find yourself in an auto accident that isn’t your fault, for instance, or you might be the victim of a crime and need to press charges against a business or individual. You might hurt yourself accidentally at work or in public, subsequently seeking the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to argue your case.
In short, there are many possible circumstances that could lead up to you needing to seek out the help of an attorney, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for this eventuality and know what to do and how to talk to them. Most lawyers actually offer free consultations, to begin with, almost like mini-interviews in which you can pose questions and get information about their way of working and attitude towards your case.
These consultations can prove to be invaluable. After all, with more than a million lawyers out there, it’s unlikely that you’ll meet the perfect one right away. You have to use these consultations to ask important questions and obtain valuable information that can help you make the right choice. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some key questions to ask a lawyer.
How much will it cost?
One of the first things most people think about when it comes to hiring a lawyer is cost. A lot of people aren’t really aware of the standard fees or average rates for attorneys, and the truth of the matter is that attorney fees can vary quite a lot, depending on who you’re working with, where you’re located, and how much work is involved in the case.
This is why there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a lawyer how much they’re going to charge you, and it should actually be one of your most important primary questions to ask during a consultation. Lawyers should be open and honest about their prices, and even if they might not be able to give you an exact fee, they should still be able to provide estimates to help you budget your legal costs.
How will I be expected to pay?
Following on from the previous question, if you want to find out more about the legal costs involved in hiring an attorney, you should also take the time to ask them how you will be expected to pay. Some lawyers will prefer to be paid in a flat fee up-front, for example, while others will charge by the hour and others will only charge you once the case has concluded.
Some lawyers charge by the hour, while others have set rates per case. It’s very important to understand the precise payment structure of your chosen lawyer in order to find one that fits your budget and meets your other needs in regard to the case, as well as being aware of your rights in regard to whether or not you have to pay a retainer, and so on.
How do you see the case going?
It may sound like a bold question to ask, but it’s one that many lawyers are used to hearing one, and it’s also one that you should not at all be afraid to pose when consulting with an attorney before deciding whether or not to hire them. Depending on the specifics and circumstances of the case, lawyers can have at least a vague initial idea of how it might play out.
Asking them for their opinion will help you decide whether or not it’s worth pursuing all the way, or whether you might not be better off looking for alternative options. This question also gives you a good idea of how confident your lawyer will be in terms of helping you pursue a successful outcome for your case and getting the result you hope for.
What is your speciality?
There are many different fields of law, and each one can differ greatly from the next, with its own unique features and complexities. Employment law, for example, is vastly different from family law or criminal law, and even though most lawyers will have a general understanding of most kinds of law, it’s vital to find one who is truly specialized in a field that is relevant to your case.
A family law specialist, for instance, should not be the first person you contact if you have an issue related to your employment or find yourself charged with a crime. Instead, reach out to criminal defense lawyers for a criminal charge and labor & employment lawyers for your employment issues.
How will we communicate as the case proceeds?
This question is one that can sometimes be forgotten or overlooked, but it’s worth keeping in mind when consulting with an attorney. Don’t forget that different attorneys will work in different ways. Some of them can be quite independent, focusing on the case in their own ways and not necessarily being highly communicative.
Others, meanwhile, will want to keep in touch and keep you updated with every single development as it happens. So, asking them about how they plan to communicate with you will help to give you an idea of what sort of worker they are.
Getting in touch with a lawyer can be quite intimidating to some people, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had to do it, but making the most of consultations can help you feel more at ease and make the right choice. Keep these questions in mind in your search for the best lawyer.