8 Questions to Ask Your Lawyer Before Hiring

So you’ve found yourself in a situation in which you need to hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, these things happen. Now what?

Hiring a lawyer can be challenging. There are so many to choose from, and if you’re not familiar with the legal world, they may all seem about the same. How do you choose?

We’ve compiled a short list of questions you should ask your lawyer before hiring them. Read on to learn more.

1. Do You Have Experience With Cases Like Mine?

This may be the most important question that you can ask a lawyer before hiring them. 

Many people are under the misguided impression that all lawyers can handle all cases. This isn’t true. Even a fantastic lawyer may not do a good job representing a client if the case is outside their field of expertise.

Lawyers have niches. While some lawyers are “generalists” and will take on a wide variety of cases, others focus on specific types of cases.

Let’s say that you get into a car accident and you’re looking for legal representation. A personal injury lawyer with experience in car accident cases should be your first choice. You wouldn’t want a personal injury lawyer who mostly has experience with medical malpractice cases, for example, because they won’t be as helpful for you even if they’re fantastic at what they do. 

If your case is very niche, you may have a hard time finding the right lawyer. It’s always better to take your time searching than to use a lawyer that’s inadequate, however. 

2. What Are Your Rates?

It’s no secret that hiring legal representation isn’t cheap. It’s never a bad thing to ask a lawyer how much their services will cost. Many people feel too shy to ask about money, but rest assured that the lawyer anticipates this question and they don’t want you to waste your time (or theirs) if they’re not within your budget. 

Some lawyers work on contingency. This means that they only get paid if you win the case and the money will come from the damages you get from the other party.

Other lawyers have a more traditional structure and will get paid regardless of whether or not you win.

Make sure you ask about specific fees. For example, some lawyers will charge by the minute for phone calls. You don’t need to go into debt to afford legal representation.

3. Do You Have Time for My Case?

Great lawyers tend to have busy caseloads. When you’re talking to a new lawyer and considering hiring them, ask if they have time in their schedule for you. 

Some lawyers make time by having legal assistants take care of deskwork while others have a more hands-on approach. 

The last thing you want is to hire a lawyer that lets your case slip to the bottom of their to-do list because they’re too busy. Don’t let that happen to you.

4. How Often Do You Go to Court?

Did you know that not all cases go to court? Many legal cases settle outside of court, especially for things like car accidents. 

Sometimes, settling makes the most sense. It’s less stressful and you will still get a payout. However, settling may also be a bad choice. In some cases, settlements are insufficient even for covering medical bills. 

You want a lawyer who has courtroom experience and who won’t pressure you to take a settlement if it’s not enough. They’ll take your case to court and continue to advocate for you. 

5. What Do You Expect From Your Clients?

How hands-on do you want to be during your case? 

Some lawyers prefer to leave their clients out of their cases. They work better independently and only reach out if it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re someone who wants a stress-free experience and you know nothing about the legal world, this may be the best option for you.

Other lawyers don’t mind having clients involved in their cases to some extent as long as they aren’t in the way. If you’re someone who wants frequent updates or wants to have a say in things, this is the lawyer you’ll want. 

6. How Do You Prefer to Communicate? 

Lawyers all communicate differently. If you have a preference, make sure to relay that to the lawyers you’re interviewing.

Some lawyers only want to communicate in person. Others are happy with phone calls and some even opt for emails (though this is less common). Video calls may also be an option.

If you’re someone with a tight schedule who can’t justify going to long in-person appointments all the time, let your lawyer know. 

7. Who Is Your Typical Client?

What type of person does your client normally work for? This isn’t a necessary question per se, but it can give you an idea of whether or not a lawyer is going to be a good match for you. 

If you’re a working-class person pursuing a standard personal injury case, you may not work well with a lawyer who’s used to working with affluent clients on higher-profile cases. Even if the lawyer is willing to take your case, it may be a bad fit.

8. What’s Your Expected Outcome for My Case?

You should always arrive at an interview with a new lawyer with some information about your case. Ask your lawyer, based on the information you provide, what type of outcome they anticipate for you.

A lawyer who assumes you’re going to lose the case is not a good choice. However, you also don’t want to pick a lawyer who guarantees, without a doubt, that you’re going to win. 

You want a lawyer who has a realistically optimistic outlook based on years of experience in the field.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring a Lawyer

Before you hire a lawyer to represent you, be sure to ask these questions. Finding the right lawyer is a challenge, and anything less than a perfect match can be disastrous. As long as you keep these questions in mind during the interview process, you’re sure to find a good fit.

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