The 10 questions to ask your potential lawyer should involve their experience, legal fees, strategy, other solutions to your problem, and what they think your outcome could be.
Here’s exactly what to ask before working with a lawyer.
10 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR LAWYER
WHAT OTHER SPECIAL TRAINING DO YOU HAVE IN ADDITION TO LAW?
Some legal issues require more knowledge than just knowledge of the law. Patent cases, for example, require in-depth knowledge of intellectual property and innovation matters. Therefore, a degree in or training in innovation policy may help.
HOW MANY SIMILAR CASES HAVE YOU WORKED ON?
Has your lawyer worked on other similar cases? What was the outcome?
WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH TO WINNING CASES?
Certain legal cases such as litigation or divorce need a lawyer who’s reasonable enough not to just focus on the kill. They need to be level headed enough to ensure an amicable solution.
On the other hand, if you’re working on a corporate merger with a tough business partner, you need a lawyer who’ll be aggressive enough to get you the desired results, but remain respectful to everyone involved.
WHAT’S YOUR USUAL CLIENT?
You may have landed a great lawyer with a great reputation, but are they really for you?
Lawyers sometimes have preferred clients, as some only work with corporations and high-value clients. This means that such a lawyer wouldn’t handle an individual’s case, and if they opt for high-value clients, then a college student facing immigration issues isn’t ideal.
ARE THERE OTHER SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM?
This might be one of the most important questions to ask your potential lawyer.
Sometimes out-of-court settlements and arbitration are cheaper and more amicable solutions to certain legal issues. Ask your lawyer if you’ve got these options.
DO YOU PRACTICE IN THE COURT WHERE MY CASE WILL BE HEARD?
A reputable lawyer with the right experience and legal background isn’t always enough to get the results you need.
Check to see if they practice law in the courthouse your case is at, to see if they have any experience with the judge(s) most likely to preside over your case. Previous experience with the judges presiding over your case helps your lawyer make a better judgment on possible case outcomes and the best strategy to use.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY LEGAL MALPRACTICE ISSUES?
This undoubtedly is one of the most important questions to ask your potential lawyer as well.
Has your lawyer been sanctioned for or accused of misconduct? Do your homework before asking this question to gauge how honest the answers are.
You need to determine if the lawyer is truthful or not or may be withholding information, which would make him unsuitable for handling your case.
HOW WILL YOU COMMUNICATE?
From the outset, decide how and when you’ll communicate.
It could be through phone calls or meetings. But whatever you decide, make sure there’s written documentation as proof of what was discussed and agreed upon.
WHO WILL BE WORKING ON MY CASE?
If your lawyer works at a big law firm, chances are part of your case will be handled by paralegals and junior associates.
Ask them if they’ll delegate part of the case, and to whom. Make sure, however, that your lawyer is involved in all key decisions and aspects of your case.
ARE THERE ANY CONFLICTS OF INTEREST?
Even though lawyers are obligated to disclose to their clients of any conflict of interest, you still need to ask about this.
A couple of relevant examples would be the following: the lawyer has previously worked with your ex-wife-to-be before or is in any way involved with the company you are getting into a merger with.
YOU HAVE QUESTIONS TO ASK AND A RIGHT TO INFORMATION
Don’t be shy about respectfully asking these questions when working with a lawyer.
You have a right to information, and your lawyer should be comfortable answering all your questions.
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