Most people don’t know much about how lawyers work, aside from what they see on TV or in films, and many people believe that they’ll never need to worry about hiring an attorney in the first place, so see little need in learning more about the process.
However, each and every day, perfectly law-abiding citizens suddenly find themselves in situations where hiring a lawyer is necessary. You, too, might find yourself needing to turn to the services of one of the million attorneys in the US today.
You could get injured at work or on the road, for instance, or find yourself wrapped up in a criminal case, despite not having committed any crime. In these situations, knowing what to do and how to act can make a real difference.
The first thing to know is that many lawyers will offer a free consultation. This is effectively like an interview, in which you get to ask some questions to your prospective lawyer and learn more about their way of working, their fees, and their experience before deciding to hire them or not.
Here are some key questions you may want to write down and remember to ask the next time you find yourself in a consultation with a lawyer.
One of the most obvious and important questions of them all; it’s absolutely vital to know how much you’ll be expected to pay for the services of a lawyer and how they expect to be paid as well.
A lot of people don’t really know how lawyer fees work, and rates can vary quite a lot from case to case.
This is why you should always ask a lawyer about their costs. Some may charge by the hour, while others will have flat rate fees for their cases. You may have to pay a retainer too.
How much experience do you have with this kind of case?
It’s important to find a lawyer with the right specialist experience and knowledge that is truly relevant to the case at hand. Don’t forget that there are many different fields of law out there.
While the average lawyer probably knows a small amount about various different types of law, like family law, criminal law, and employment law, they’ll usually be specialized in just one or two key areas.
So, if you have a case connected to family law, you need to find a family law specialist. Asking your lawyer how much experience they have with cases like yours will help you find out more about their career experience and expertise.
Many people are a little nervous about asking a question like this, but it can be a really important one, for several reasons. Firstly, you don’t want to waste your own time and money on a case that has little chance of success, so it’s worth asking if the lawyer really thinks you can win.
Secondly, a lawyer’s answer to this question can help you learn a lot about them. Some lawyers have confident, ruthless, no-holds-barred approaches to their work and will give you a lot of peace of mind and reassurance, while others might be warier due to their lack of experience.
Asking a lawyer about your chances of success may also open up other avenues and opportunities to you. If a lawyer truly thinks you don’t have a very strong case, they might be able to advise you of other options you could pursue.
This is a useful follow-up question to the last one, as it helps to give you an idea of what might happen if your case is unsuccessful. Again, this question can provide a very useful, illuminating answer for a lot of people, so it’s worth asking.
It’s vital for you to know what you stand to lose or what risks you might be facing if you take the case all the way and it doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping.
A good lawyer will be fair and balanced in their assessment, honestly explaining the real risks and hazards that you could have to deal with, including the potential monetary costs you might have to cover.
Contacting a lawyer can be quite an intimidating process for many first-timers, but it’s important to remember that you’re in the driving seat, free to consult with various lawyers, ask them any questions you have, learn more about the process, and pick the right one.