Speaking to an attorney for the first time may seem like a daunting task. During your first consultation, it’s important to know the right questions to ask so that you can find the best attorney for your case. Here are some helpful tips for what to ask your attorney when meeting for the first time.
Ask about their experience and their success rate.
“How long have you been practicing in this field of law?”
“What is your experience with cases like mine?”
“What is your success rate on winning cases like mine?”
When handling any legal case, it will be beneficial to work with an attorney who has handled cases similar to yours. That way, they will have the necessary knowledge and understand the intricacies your type of case may have.
Remember how important choosing the right attorney can be for the outcome of your case and don’t be afraid or worried to ask about their history of cases similar to yours that they have won or lost, and don’t be afraid to ask how they’ve handled these kinds of cases so you can be prepared for what your case will entail.
How much do they charge and how do they handle payment?
“What are your attorney fees and costs, and how are they billed?”
There are several different types of payment systems most attorneys will use: hourly rate, flat fee, retainer, or contingency fee.
If your attorney charges an hourly rate, keep in mind that it may be worth investing into an attorney with a higher hourly rate if they have a lot of experience with a case like yours, as they will likely be able to get the same amount of work done on your case in less time.
Flat fees will often be used for simple and well-defined matters, such as writing a will. A retainer fee is a kind of like a down payment to your attorney. Typically you will give them a sum of money upfront to see your case through or pay a certain fee monthly. Your attorney will then put the money into a special trust and draw from it as they work through your case.
With a contingency fee, an attorney would take no fees up front but will get a percentage (typically one-third) of the settlement money awarded in the case. Be sure to get specific information when meeting with an attorney about how they will charge for your case and if any other fees could possibly arise during the case, so you don’t wind up with unexpected costs.
How will your attorney handle your case?
“What will my involvement in the case be like?”
“Will any or all of my case be handled by legal assistants or paralegals?”
It is easy to assume that if you’re hiring an attorney they will handle all aspects of your case. But in some cases, they may ask you to assist during the process or they may have others working for them who will handle some of the work along the way. Make sure you can trust the work of whoever will be assisting in handling your case.
Remember, it is important to get as many specific details about how an attorney handles cases and will handle your case, and this consolation is your chance to find this out. Doing even a small amount of research and coming prepared with questions relevant to your own case during your consultations can help you pick the right attorney and potentially save you from future headaches down the line.
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