When your car breaks down, you still need to get to school or work, so you may need a mechanic to get you back on the road. When you're not feeling well, you may need to see your doctor to get you back on your feet.
It's about the same with legal problems. Like a car or health problem, you never know when a legal problem may pop up. Suddenly you need to find a lawyer. But how do you choose the lawyer that's right for you and your case?
Here is a handy checklist of basic questions to ask before you hire a lawyer:
The Lawyer's Experience
- How long have you been practicing in this field or area of law?
- Have you ever handled matters like mine before?
Managing the Case
- What are the possible outcomes of my case?
- What are my alternatives in resolving the matter?
- Approximately how long will it take to resolve?
- Do you recommend mediation or arbitration?
- How will you let me know about what's happening in my case?
- What kind of approach will you take - aggressive and unyielding, or will you work to reach a reasonable settlement?
Legal Fees & Costs
- What are your rates and how often will you bill me?
- What is a ballpark figure for the total bill, including fees and expenses?
Who Will Do the Work?
- Who else in your law office will work on my case?
- Can junior attorneys or paralegals in the office handle some of legal work at a lower rate than what you charge?
The answers you get to these questions should give you a good idea if the attorney you're talking to is the one you should hire to solve your legal problem.