Hiring a lawyer can be daunting, but if it’s something you need to do it makes sense to be as informed as possible before you start the process.
What sort of questions should you ask a lawyer before you hire them? There are many questions you could ask them but we’ve chosen just five key questions to ask a lawyer in an interview.
Interested? Keep reading below.
1. Are You a Generalist or a Specialist?
Law is so broad and wide-ranging that in most cases, lawyers will focus on a specific legal field or area. There are lawyers who have sufficient experience in multiple legal fields, but this is rare, so it’s best to find a lawyer specializing in the area of law relevant to you.
When hiring a lawyer, consider whether you need them to focus on criminal law, family law, tax law, or another field.
2. What Experience Do You Have?
Don’t worry about being nosey — this is one of the top questions to ask when hiring a lawyer.
Ideally, your lawyer should have a minimum of around ten years of experience, but in an ideal world, they’d have at least double that. Although some less-experienced lawyers will be great, your best bet is to go for someone who’s been in the game for years.
Moreover, where does their experience lie? Have they dealt with cases similar to yours in the past? Ask them about the outcome, and what they learned from previous experiences.
3. What Are the Costs?
You should ask for all costs and potential costs to be broken down so that you can see where your money is going. Often, you’ll be charged a set fee, but sometimes it can be difficult for your lawyer to give you a fixed fee in the early stages.
Information you’ll need includes their hourly rate, the costs of similar cases, and disbursements. Then there’s the possibility of other fees like a contingent fee, a retainer fee, and a statutory fee — make sure this is all out in the open.
4. How and When Will We Communicate?
Although it might be tempted to stay in frequent contact with your attorney, this can hinder their work. Different lawyers will be open to different levels of contact, so bear this in mind when hiring an attorney.
You should ask in the interview how often you should expect to be in touch with them, and how they plan to stay in contact — with so many forms of communication available, this will lessen any confusion.
5. What Are the Potential Weaknesses?
It’s good to be frank about this. You might not want to hear about the potential weaknesses of your case, but it’s best not to be kept in the dark.
Have you got an argument? Get the opinion of the lawyer during the interview as this will help you determine whether or not your case is worth fighting. If you get a mixed response from lawyers you interview, it probably makes sense to hire a lawyer who has more faith in your case.
Other Questions to Ask a Lawyer in an Interview
Of course, these aren’t the only questions to ask a lawyer in an interview. What you ask them will depend on the complexities of your case and any individual requirements. You’ll need to carefully consider everything and choose your questions accordingly.
If you’re looking for more advice on protecting yourself, you should check out some of our other posts.