If you’ve never needed to hire a lawyer before, it can be nearly impossible to know how to start. Some people simply pull a name out of the phone book or from an Internet search and call around to schedule a consultation or two, without doing any research. However, if you truly want a positive experience, you need to prepare a few questions to ask during your interview. Here are just a few things that you can ask when you’re searching for a litigation attorney.
How Does The Litigation Attorney Handle Payment?
The type of case you have, as well as the lawyer you hire, will determine how payments are structured. Some attorneys will ask for a retainer — that is, a small deposit that will ensure that the firm can pay for expenses related to your case. Others may take it on a contingency basis. This means that there isn’t any sort of payment up front, but the firm will take a percentage of the winnings or the settlement. Realize that if your case is taken on contingency, any additional expenses may be above and beyond the standard attorney’s fees.
How Many Cases Has The Firm Won?
Next, ask how many cases the firm, and specifically your lawyer, has won. If you have questions about the attorney’s record, ask them about cases that were won or lost. He or she may not be able to provide you specific details, but the lawyer may be able to explain why they lost certain cases. Consider these explanations, as well as the firm’s record, before hiring one.
Additionally, talk to your litigation attorney about whether they prefer to settle or take a case to court. Settlements aren’t bad — sometimes they are the preferred method because they may be less expensive and help clients receive their funds more quickly. If you’re interested in a settlement, rather than a long, drawn out case, let your lawyer know so he or she can approach the other side’s attorney with an offer.
Who Will Keep You Updated About The Case’s Progress?
Lastly, ask who will keep you updated regarding your suit’s progress. Will your litigation attorney call with a weekly update or will you have to chase them down once a month to find out where things stand? Court cases can sometimes move slowly so there may not be a lot of movement, but a firm should be more than happy to keep you updated during the entire process. Also, ask who will contact you? Chances are good that a paralegal or legal secretary will have access to your case and he or she may be the one to call with any updates. This type of contact is fine, but what happens if you ever have a question that a paralegal isn’t able to answer? Knowing that you can call your lawyer with questions is important.
While these questions aren’t the only things you should consider when hiring a litigation attorney, they are a good start. Before you start the interviewing process, make a list of questions and don’t be afraid to write down each lawyer’s answers so that you can easily recall which one you liked best.