If you have never worked with an attorney, you may find it daunting to find one, especially if you need legal help right away. Fortunately, most attorneys or law firms offer free or low-cost consultations to review your case. However, before you choose your lawyer, you should ask a few key questions.
What Legal Fields Do You Specialize In?
Law is like medicine. It has many fields, and each has its own nuances. Therefore, you need someone with education and experience in the area you need. Some firms, such as Tully Rinckey, have multiple specializations, so you may need to expand this question. Find out how long they have specialized in your area and how many cases they have closed successfully.
How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Handled?
Not only do you need an attorney who specializes in the type of law you need, but you need someone with experience handling cases like yours. These professionals understand the nuances of your legal challenge. They can identify possible pitfalls or challenges you or they may face. In addition, many lawyers take a similar approach to their cases, but they should have several approaches or options for getting your legal work done.
Who Will Work on My Case?
You should speak with the person who will ultimately handle your case. However, firms like Tully Rinckey PLLC have customer service or client relations departments that handle the initial introduction to the firm and consultation. Therefore, ask to speak with the person who will complete the legal work on your case. This may cost a little money, but you need to know who the attorney is and what his or her experience is.
In addition, your lawyer may ask paralegals, assistants and private investigators to work on your file. The work these professionals do will cost you, so you should understand their fee structure and experience as well.
Do You Anticipate Success in My Case?
A legal consultation should include a review of your case. A great attorney will tell you where the case is weak and where it is strong. These individuals should also give you ideas or strategies to strengthen your case. They may suggest additional investigations or request additional documents to prove your case.
Avoid attorneys who just tell you what you want to hear. If your case is weak, you need to know.
Are You Willing To Go To Court?
Many firms focus on settlement conferences, mediation or other alternative measures to complete their cases. In many cases, these strategies work well for their clients. However, if your case is more complicated or you cannot come to a satisfactory agreement, you need a lawyer who can and will take the case to court.
What Type of Communication Can I Expect?
Some of your greatest frustration may come from communication, so you should know right up front what to expect. Some attorneys only call or email when they have an update on your case, while others provide regular, monthly updates. Some will only email you while others will actually call you.
If you have a question, you also need to know the best way to communicate with your attorney. Therefore, ask about your prospects’ preferred communication methods. Also, ask when you should expect a response to your questions because it may take a few days for the attorney to find your answer.
What Resources Do You Have?
You also need to understand the firm’s resources. First, they need financial stability to handle your case. However, they may also need conference facilities and human resource assets. Find out if they have the time and resources to represent you properly.
Instead of basing your representation decision entirely on cost, find out as much as you can about each of your prospects prior to choosing who will represent you.