The initial consultation with a lawyer is an important step in the legal process. Indeed, you are meeting a lawyer for the first time for a legal problem that could have a significant impact on you and your loved ones. You’ll want to make sure you’re dealing with a lawyer you trust, who understands your situation, and who you feel comfortable with. To help you choose yours, here are 6 questions to ask a lawyer before starting legal proceedings.
How long have you been practicing law?
Lawyers with more experience can help you feel more confident, and depending on your case, you may prefer to hire a lawyer with many years of experience. But that does not mean that a young lawyer starting out in the profession could not meet your needs. It is especially important to know whether or not you are dealing with someone who knows what he is doing.
What is your speciality ?
You will want to make sure that the attorney you hire has experience with the legal issue that concerns you. A lawyer can specialize in one of the following areas:
- Business Law
- Criminal law
- Family law
- Real estate law
- And others
So make sure that the lawyer you hire focuses on the area of law that concerns you. Additionally, if your case is to go to court, you also want him to have experience advocating in court.
What are your fees and terms of payment?
Of course, you’ll want to know how much it will cost, when you’ll have to make payment, and how. A lawyer may charge according to an hourly rate, a flat rate, or whatever. Also ask when and how you will need to make the payments. Some lawyers are more open than others to different payment terms.
How would you represent me?
Basically, you want to know what strategy he intends to adopt to win your case. It will also give you an idea of the type of lawyer you have in front of you. It’s up to you to see if his style suits you.
What are my alternatives?
It is important to ask the lawyer if you have alternatives to solve your legal problem. For example, could your situation be settled in mediation or arbitration? Your lawyer should be able to advise you of the possibility that your case may be handled by other means which would be more to your advantage.
Will you be the only one working on my cause?
You have to decide if you are ready to work with his team, or if you prefer to deal only with him. However, there are financial advantages to having a team work on your file. Indeed, it could save you money, because generally your lawyer will assign certain tasks to paralegals and/or associates who charge lower fees than his.