When you find yourself in a predicament that requires scouring the internet for a lawyer, you may feel like you’re in over your head. It’s important that you never settle for the first option you find.
When meeting with potential lawyers, you want to vet them first. There are several questions you’ll want to ask before deciding on which lawyer to hire.
1. What Is Your Speciality?
It’s not very common to find a lawyer who has a general knowledge of all forms of legal aspects. Lawyers will often specialize in a particular field, such as real estate law or corporate law.
For example, if you’re looking for a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Barbara, a divorce lawyer may not be the best fit for your particular case.
2. How Long Have You Practiced Law?
Plenty of lawyers who are fresh out of passing the bar are ready to take on new clients at a reasonable price. However, depending on the severity of your case, you may want to find someone who is more experienced.
In general, you want to find someone who has at least 10 to 15 years of experience under their belt, if not more.
3. How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Won?
A baseball coach wouldn’t bring someone onto their team who has a significantly low batting average. Just like the coach, you want to know your potential lawyer’s success rate.
You’ll want to know not only how many cases they’ve won, but how many of them were similar to yours. Ask for detailed information, such as the outcome and any issues they experienced along the way that they could see as potential threats in your case.
4. What Are My Chances of a Positive Outcome?
This is where you really get to test the trust you can have with your potential lawyer. After providing them with the details of your case, you want to ask them about the chances of a favorable outcome.
A good lawyer is going to be honest and straight with you. They’re going to let you know what issues may arise or if they’re even willing to take on your case if it’s a low outcome for a positive result.
5. Do You Think It’s Possible For a Settlement?
Not all cases end up going to court. The case could be settled between the two parties to avoid someone losing a trial, such as if you’re dealing with a case involving compensation law.
It can help to alleviate months, if not years, of legal fees and dragging on difficult cases that can be more taxing than you realize. Oftentimes, it can lead to a more favorable result.
6. What Is Your Current Fee Structure?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all payment structure when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Different fees may include:
- An hourly rate of anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per hour.
- Flat fees for their services such as drawing up a will
- Contingent fees based upon the outcome of the case
- Retainer fees are an accumulation of their hourly fee that the lawyer will take out as you use your hours
Depending on your financial situation, the severity or even longevity of your case may change.
7. How Long Do You Expect This To Take?
The more expansive your case, the longer it might take. A professional lawyer is going to have a good grasp on a general timeline for what your case could look like.
If it’s a clear-cut case, you may only need a few months. However, some difficult circumstances, such as a messy divorce case, can take years. Ask this question upfront as a means of gaining trust with your lawyer.
These questions are only the beginning when you first start your search for a lawyer. It’s important to check out local reviews from past clients and do your research online on each lawyer you’re interviewing.
Your case is important and unique. It deserves the right person for the job – and so do you!